Tuesday 19 March 2019

Murderer in foul-mouthed tirade when verdict read

Gardaí at Ravensdale Forest Park in 2012
Gardaí at Ravensdale Forest Park in 2012

Eoin Reynolds and Natasha Reid

A 35-year-old Dublin man shouted "Guilty of f***ing what?" when a jury convicted him of murdering two men who had arranged to sell him a stolen car.

The jury had been asked to use circumstantial evidence to convict Jason O'Driscoll, of Richmond Avenue, Fairview, who pleaded not guilty to murdering Anthony Burnett (31) and Joseph Redmond (25), in Co Louth, on March 7, 2012.

The jury of five women and seven men spent more than seven hours considering their verdicts, which the foreman said were by a 10-to-two majority.

As the judge thanked the jury for their service and exempted them from further duty for 15 years, O'Driscoll stood up and said: "Guilty of f***ing what?"

On his way towards the cells, he said there was no evidence, he was guilty of nothing, and added: "F***ing crook."

Justice Michael White will hand down the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on October 2.

He adjourned sentencing after counsel for the prosecution, Alex Owens SC, asked for time to allow the families of the deceased men put together an impact statement to be read to the court.

The Central Criminal Court heard that emergency services were called to a burning car in a lay-by at Ravensdale Forest Park at 10.51pm on March 7, 2012.

Firefighters described seeing skulls and rib cages inside the car.

The five-week trial heard that the bodies were fused together but were later confirmed to be those of the two Dubliners.

They died of gunshot wounds to their heads before petrol was used to set fire to the black diesel Volkswagen Golf.

The State proved to the jury that the accused had attended the scene with another man and had participated in their murders.

O'Driscoll was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court on June 25, replying: "Not guilty. I'm innocent" to each charge.

It was his second time to go on trial for the murders. A previous jury failed to reach a verdict late last year.

The court heard evidence that his two victims had left their homes that evening to travel north to sell him a car they'd stolen that morning.

O'Driscoll was living in Newry and had told them he'd pay €700 for the one-year-old Volkswagen Golf if they would drive it up to him.

The deceased, Burnett and Redmond, were both from Ballybough in the north inner city and were described by the State as "small-time criminals" involved in car theft.

The two men decided to steal a car from a driveway in Sandymount.

The first trial heard Mr Redmond had put his hand through the owner's letterbox, opened the door to the house and taken the keys to the car.

Much of the rest of the case was built on circumstantial evidence.

The jury saw CCTV footage of O'Driscoll and another man topping up mobile phones that were in contact with the deceased on the night of the murders. There was also footage of O'Driscoll in a hotel where there was a payphone that showed up in their call records from that evening.

Irish Independent

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