Friday 22 March 2019

'His scream was a scream that I will never forget'

The leader of the so called New IRA in Dublin has been jailed for life for the murder of another dissident republican almost six years ago.

Kevin Braney (44), of Glenshane Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was found guilty by the Special Criminal Court last week of the "premeditated" murder of Peter Butterly (35).

Mr Butterly, was chased and shot dead outside The Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath in view of students waiting for their school bus on the afternoon of March 6, 2013 in what the three-judge court said was not "a spontaneous act". The father-of-three died from gun shots wounds to his neck and upper back.

Braney had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Butterly.

Delivering judgment at the non-jury court following an 11-week trial which ended in December, Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding, said the court was driven "irresistibly" to the conclusion that Braney was involved in the organisation and planning of Mr Butterly's murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

An impact statement was read to the non-jury court by the victim's wife, Eithne Butterly, during Braney's sentence hearing.

Mrs Butterly took the stand and said: "As we come close to Peter's sixth anniversary here I am before the courts with yet another victim statement."

"Kevin Braney, you have no concept, nor do you really care how we feel but I am going to tell you regardless. Peter was an excellent, loving and proud father to our three children and their lives without him to protect and nurture them have been horrific to say the least."

"Our two daughters were his princesses and he absolutely adored the two of them. He participated in so many ways in their childhood and their love of sports was an enormous bond between them. Peter attended and supported the girls in so many of their activities and was always the proudest daddy of their many achievements," she said.

Mrs Butterly said her son was only six years of age when she had to tell him that his daddy was shot dead and that he was never coming home. "His scream is a scream that I will never forget and still haunts me to this day. He was only a baby."

The widow said her son has "very few memories of his daddy, thanks to you, but a few are still vivid and poignant to him. He remembers Peter giving him 'the forklift' to bed every night and the two of them going through the Find Stig book."

Addressing Braney, she said that he had denied Peter participating in his many sporting activities and her son gets "so angry about this". "Can you blame him", she added.

"Peter was a loving and devoted husband as well as my best friend and our lives without him are literally a living nightmare. And thankfully we have so many wonderful memories that you can never take from us," she concluded.

Mr Justice Coffey, presiding, sitting with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge James Faughnan, then sentenced Braney to the mandatory term of life imprisonment, backdated to when he first went into custody for this matter on September 14, 2017.

Ms Cummings asked the court that a "nolle prosequi" be entered on the outstanding count of membership. This means the State will not be proceeding with the prosecution in relation to this count.

Following sentencing Braney gave little reaction before he was led away by prison officers.

Edward McGrath (37), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght, Sharif Kelly (49), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan and Dean Evans (27), of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin have all received life sentences at the Special Criminal Court after they were convicted of Mr Butterly's murder.

Drogheda Independent