| 19.1°C Dublin

Two jailed for life in 'brutal' murder of French busker

TWO men have been jailed for life in the Central Criminal Court for shooting dead a French busker.

The family of Charles Sinapayen said their life had become a "living nightmare" since the murder.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed the mandatory term of life imprisonment on Declan Sheridan (24) and James O'Connor (28) after a jury found them guilty following four-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Father-of-one Sheridan, of Sugarloaf View, Sea Road, Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, and father-of-three O'Connor, of Kilbridge Grove in Bray, Co Wicklow, had both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Sinapayen at Richmond Hill, Bray, Co Wicklow, in the early hours of May 29, 2009. The 33-year-old musician and juggler, who had lived in Bray for several years and was known to many as a busker in the town, was shot through the bedroom window of the apartment he shared with his girlfriend Mary Kinlan.

He sustained a gunshot wound to the side of his face which lacerated his brain and fractured his skull, and died two days later in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

Counsel for the State told the jury the motive for the "brutal" and "callous" murder was unclear.

In a victim impact statement Mr Sinapayen's mother Marie Claire outlined how her life had become a "living nightmare" since the murder of her son. She described him as a "maverick, non-conformist and happy-go-lucky" person who was nice to everybody and liked to make people laugh.

Mr Sinapayen's brother Julian said he felt a "surge of anger" towards his brother's killers and although he wanted justice to be done, he did not know if it would bring him peace.

His younger brother John said Charles's murder was the "worst thing" that happened to the family and that he "wished" for justice to be enacted so that the killers and their families could "suffer" as his own family had. The State argued that O'Connor and Sheridan, who have both suffered with heroin addiction in the past, went to Mr Sinapayen's apartment in the early hours of May 29, 2009, where they fired two blasts from a shotgun through the window.

It was the prosecution case that the accused men were then driven to a local cemetery where they disposed of the shotgun, cartridges, clothes and shoes.

The jury heard evidence from key prosecution witness Keith Lowe, who said he drove O'Connor and a second man to Richmond Hill on the evening in question.

Sheridan has 34 previous convictions and O'Connor has 41 previous convictions, including two for assault on a police officer.

Irish Independent