Sunday 15 September 2019

Men who aided Vinnie Ryan's killing jailed

Partner and mother: Kelly Smyth after the sentencing of two men involved in Vinnie Ryan’s murder. Photo: Collins Courts
Partner and mother: Kelly Smyth after the sentencing of two men involved in Vinnie Ryan’s murder. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

Two men have been sentenced to a total of 20 years for helping a criminal gang to murder Vinnie Ryan (25), a brother of slain Real IRA leader Alan Ryan.

Jeffrey Morrow received the longer sentence of 11 years after Mr Justice Michael White detailed his history of crimes including conspiracy to rob a cash-in-transit van carrying €1m.

Paul O'Beirne was sentenced to nine years with the judge saying he found it difficult to understand why a man with no history of criminal activity got involved in such a serious crime.

Outside court Mr Ryan's partner and mother of his only child Kelly Smyth said: "I'm happy that it's all over. For myself and my daughter's sake I just want to get on with the rest of my life."

She described Mr Ryan as a "great father and a great man", adding: "We were looking forward to the rest of our lives together but sadly that was cut short."

Mr Ryan was gunned down outside Ms Smyth's home on McKee Road in Finglas on February 29, 2016 when a gunman pulled up alongside his car and fired at least 13 rounds. One bullet went through Mr Ryan's head, causing his death.

Vinnie Ryan: Young father (25) was killed in a drive-by shooting. Photo: Collins Courts
Vinnie Ryan: Young father (25) was killed in a drive-by shooting. Photo: Collins Courts

Ms Smyth had taken their then five-week-old daughter from the car only moments before the shooting.

O'Beirne (36), of Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot, Dublin, and Morrow (37) of Burnell Court, Coolock, Dublin, went on trial on June 24 last when they pleaded not guilty to Mr Ryan's murder. Following lengthy legal argument the murder charge was dropped and both men pleaded guilty to facilitating a serious offence contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006.

The court heard they provided and destroyed a stolen Volkswagen Golf that the gunmen who shot Mr Ryan used in the drive-by shooting.

Mr Justice White yesterday said both men knowingly associated themselves with a criminal organisation and the provision and destruction of the car were "vital" to the plan to murder Mr Ryan.

He added that although he was not dealing with a murder sentence, "there was a proximity to this callous crime which the court considers a very serious aggravating factor".

He noted O'Beirne had 25 previous convictions, 24 for minor road traffic matters.

Mr Justice White said a section 4 assault conviction was for "going too far" when he was trying to apprehend someone who was breaking into cars on his street. He said: "Considering his record I'm surprised he has got himself involved in this."

Mr Justice White said Morrow, who had 120 previous convictions, is "completely different".

"At the time of this offence Mr Morrow was inextricably linked up to a criminal organisation," he said.

Irish Independent

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