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Son says he will 'never forgive' family members involved in mum's murder

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Patricia O’Connor’s son Richard O’Connor and wife Martina O’Connor (centre) with Patricia’s co-workers (from left) Breda Wosser, Kim Bermingham, Sandra Flynn and Josie Dunne, who brought a photo montage of the victim to court. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Patricia O’Connor’s son Richard O’Connor and wife Martina O’Connor (centre) with Patricia’s co-workers (from left) Breda Wosser, Kim Bermingham, Sandra Flynn and Josie Dunne, who brought a photo montage of the victim to court. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Keith Johnston and Stephanie O’Connor. PHOTO: Collins

Keith Johnston and Stephanie O’Connor. PHOTO: Collins

Louise O'Connor

Louise O'Connor

Gus O'Connor

Gus O'Connor

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Patricia O’Connor’s son Richard O’Connor and wife Martina O’Connor (centre) with Patricia’s co-workers (from left) Breda Wosser, Kim Bermingham, Sandra Flynn and Josie Dunne, who brought a photo montage of the victim to court. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Devastated, heartbroken, disgusted and deceived. These were just four of the words an emotional Richard O'Connor used to describe the effect his mother Patricia's horrific murder has had on her grieving family.

He told the Central Criminal Court he could "never forgive" those involved in her killing and the "callous" cover-up that followed.

Patricia's sisters and brothers said they were "sickened" by the "spiteful lies" that had been told about her by the accused.

They were delivering victim-­impact statements as Kieran Greene (35) was jailed for life for the brutal murder of the grandmother-of-seven, whom he bludgeoned to death with a hurley before dismembering the body with a hacksaw and scattering the remains in the Wicklow mountains.

Greene, dressed in a grey tracksuit and wearing a blue face mask, did not react as Mr Justice Paul McDermott handed down the mandatory prison term.

The court was also told how Patricia's husband, Gus O'Connor, saw her dead body "wrapped up" on the floor of their home after she was killed. He said he asked the others to call the gardaí but then "washed his hands" of it and went to bed.

Gus O'Connor (76) and the three other co-accused who impeded Greene's prosecution will be sentenced on Friday. Greene killed Patricia (61), his partner Louise's mother, in a row in the bathroom at the family home they shared at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin, on May 29, 2017.

He buried her body in a shallow grave in Co Wexford before digging it up days later and dismembering it. He dumped the pieces along a mountain roadside. The father-of-three had pleaded not guilty but was convicted after a seven-week trial.

Patricia's daughter Louise (41) and granddaughter Stephanie O'Connor (22), as well as Louise's ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston (43), had denied impeding Greene's prosecution but were also found guilty.

Stephanie disguised herself as Patricia to be caught on CCTV in a "ruse" that her grandmother had stormed out of the house when she was actually dead. Her mother Louise agreed to this.

Johnston, Stephanie's father, later assisted Greene in buying tools for the concealment of Patricia's remains.

Gus O'Connor pleaded guilty to falsely reporting his wife missing on June 1, 2017, when he knew she was dead.

Yesterday, the court was told that, when he was arrested in September, Gus O'Connor initially told gardaí he had slept all night and knew nothing about what happened.

He then admitted to lying, saying he was woken by Stephanie. He added that they had called him downstairs and he saw "something big" wrapped up on the floor. Louise said "Ma is dead" and that she had been attacked by Kieran Greene in the bathroom.

"I was shocked, I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he told gardaí. He said he wanted to ring the gardaí but they "begged him not to".

Gus O'Connor said: "I'm as bad as the rest of them, but I didn't lay a hand on her."

He said he had "washed his hands of it" and went upstairs and slept.

When he came back down, he said, they had moved the body and disposed of it.

He went with his son Richard to report her missing because he believed "they would find her in a day or two".

He told the gardaí he felt sorry and that he should get what he deserved. He stated that he felt remorse and sadness, and he had loved ­Patricia.

Michael P O'Higgins SC, for Gus O'Connor said he accepted his behaviour was inexcusable.

He said the household was "toxic" and it would appear that both Mr and Mrs O'Connor were victims of elder abuse. Gus O'Connor made a "gross error of judgment" and got caught up in a "horrific experience" that was "not actually of his making".

Mr O'Higgins said it would not be in the public interest to jail his client, who was "at heart a good man who made a terrible mistake".

Both Louise and Stephanie O'Connor now accepted the jury's verdicts, their barristers told the court.

Michael Bowman SC, for Louise, said she would have entered a guilty plea but for the fact that the outcome would have led to her family losing their accommodation.

She was genuinely distressed by the death of her mother and the part she played in the aftermath. What happened was not pre-meditated but circumstances "ran out of control". He said a neighbour described Louise as "a wonderful mother".

Stephanie had engaged in an act designed to "throw gardai off the scent" but the "ship had sailed" by the time they uncovered it, her barrister Garnet Orange SC said.

Testimonials described her as a "lovely young woman".

Johnston acknowledged the devastation the events had caused but did not accept his participation, his barrister James Dwyer SC said.

Greene had been "vulnerable" in school and lived a "blameless life", his barrister Conor Devally SC said.

None of the accused had any prior convictions except for Greene, who had one for uninsured driving.

"The revelation of how my mam was murdered, the brutality of the act, the cold-hearted way in which she was dismembered, the disgusting way it was covered up...will stay with me for the rest of my life," Richard O'Connor said.

"The lies that were told, the cruel cover up of her murder, it has been shocking and utterly disgusting," Patricia's sister Colette Barry said.

Irish Independent