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'This isn't justice,' says body-in-canal victim's partner as killer's son is jailed

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Eimear Dunne. Picture: Collins

Eimear Dunne. Picture: Collins

Kenneth O'Brien

Kenneth O'Brien

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Eimear Dunne. Picture: Collins

The partner of a man who was shot dead and dismembered with a chainsaw yesterday attacked the sentence given to his killer's son for obstructing the Garda investigation.

Eimear Dunne said the sentence - three years with 18 months suspended - was "not justice".

Ms Dunne's partner Kenneth O'Brien (33) was shot dead by Paul Wells Snr (51) at the killer's home in Barnamore Park in Finglas, Dublin, in January 2016.

The killer, who later dismembered his victim with a chainsaw, was found guilty of murder in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison.

After dismembering the body, he put some of the body parts in a suitcase that he then dumped in the Grand Canal.

Paul Wells Jnr (33) pleaded not guilty to disposing of the chainsaw motor and its blade and chain on January 20, 2016, knowing it was used in a crime, but he was found guilty last November.

Yesterday, he was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Dunne said she was unhappy with the outcome of the case.

"It's not justice really. I still have a child with no father. No, it's not closure," she said.

"He [Wells Jnr] didn't kill him [Kenneth] and for that I am grateful, but he had a role."

The Wells family were emotional in court, and some of them hugged Wells Jnr tearfully before he was taken away to start his sentence.

This provoked an angry reaction from one woman, who shouted it was "an insult".

"He can still see his children," the woman shouted before leaving.

Judge Ms Justice Carmel Stewart told the court that the "brutal manner" in which Mr O'Brien's body was dismembered and disposed of "defies belief".

The judge said the Central Criminal Court had previously been urged to suspend the sentence in full due to the defendant's family background, but she did not think that would mark the gravity of the offence.

The judge asked that prison authorities take into account Paul Wells Snr's threats against his son.

The court had heard that Wells Snr had made the threats from prison.

Defence barrister Damien Colgan SC told the judge that his client was not involved in murdering Mr O'Brien, had no previous convictions, was exposed to violence from an early age and greatly helped gardaí with the investigation.

Passing sentence, Ms Justice Stewart said Wells Jnr had initially attended Leixlip garda station and given a voluntary statement to gardaí. Following his arrest, the defendant took part in 15 interviews that greatly helped in the prosecution of his father, she said.

Ms Justice Stewart said she noted that the sister of the defendant, Amy Wells, had apologised for her brother's actions and for the family not coming forward sooner, as this had allowed Wells Snr to evade prosecution for two weeks and attend Mr O'Brien's funeral.

The judge said this confirmed there was knowledge within the Wells family of what had occurred for at least two week until Wells Jnr, of Beatty Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare, went to gardaí on February 5.

Referring to the victim impact statement read to the court by the dead man's father, Ms Justice Stewart said the grief of the O'Brien family was "unimaginable".

"The fact their son was brutally murdered is appalling in itself, but the brutal manner in which his body was dismembered and disposed of defies belief," she said.

Having regard to the gravity of the offence, the judge said the maximum sentence was 10 years in prison.

Irish Independent