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JAILED: Thug who ran over man also attacked petrol pump attendant

A THUG who ran over and killed an innocent man dragged a petrol pump attendant along the road in a similar hijacking incident beforehand.

Violent criminal Angelo O'Riordan (23) was jailed yesterday for killing another man in an unprovoked assault during which he was dragged under a car after being attacked with a machete.

In sentencing Angelo O'Riordan to 10 years with the final year suspended for the manslaughter of Aidan Myers, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy described the December 2006 killing in Co Louth as "quite shocking".

He said Mr Myers and his friend Gearoid O'Donnell had been two law-abiding citizens and were completely innocent parties minding their own business when they were rammed and set upon by O'Riordan and a gang of men and assaulted "in a most violent fashion".

The judge also referred to the fact that a few weeks after the killing, O'Riordan was sentenced to two years in jail for dangerous driving and reckless endangerment after hijacking a car, dragging a petrol pump attendant along the road, and ramming into another vehicle injuring two people.

But he said he could not take that, or his string of other convictions, into consideration, nor could he sentence O'Riordan on the basis that he had intended to kill or cause serious injury.

Mr Justice McCarthy said he was particularly struck by a part of the Myers' family victim impact statement, where they described sitting around Aidan's body in a small hospital room thinking "please, oh please no."

He said O'Riordan's actions had been "morally reprehensible" and he regarded the crime as very high on the scale of manslaughter. He backdated the nine-year sentence to May 2009, when O'Riordan went into custody. The father of one smiled before he was led away from the courtroom.



Hostile

O'Riordan, of Point Road, Bellurgan, Dundalk, originally went on trial for murder last July, but when the case was in its third week, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter after his girlfriend was declared a hostile witness and was about to be cross-examined by lawyers for the prosecution.

He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr O'Donnell, who died in July 2007 from an underlying medical condition. O'Riordan was sentenced to three years for the assault, to run concurrent with the manslaughter sentence.

The court heard that Mr Myers and Mr O'Donnell had been driving into Dundalk together on December 12, 2006, and were at Faughart when their car was rammed from behind. Thinking it was an accident, they got out to assess the damage and were attacked by a gang of four men, two of whom were wielding machetes.

O'Riordan, who was part of this gang, got into a Mitsubishi that had been hijacked earlier that evening, and as Mr Myers lay injured on the ground, rammed it into Mr O'Donnell's Astra, causing it to run over Mr Myers and drag him along the road for a distance of 50 yards.

He was rushed to Louth County Hospital after passers-by raised the alarm, but died shortly afterwards from multiple rib fractures, trauma to the liver and haemorrhaging, followed by several heart attacks.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Myers' father, Tom Myers, said the family were happy with the sentence.

"We think the crime deserved the sentence," he said.

"Initially we would have loved him to have been done for murder, but under the circumstances we're more than happy with the judge's decision."

He described Aidan as a "normal chap" who loved his football and was a great friend and brother. "We'll never get over it" he said.

Aidan's brother, Cormac Myers, said that Christmas would never be the same again for the family, given the time of year that his brother was killed.

And he appealed to the people of Dundalk to come forward with information on the other men who were involved.

"Three other people are running around in Dundalk who had every bit as much to do with this crime. They're every bit as guilty as the accused here today. The smallest piece of information may be enough to convict them" he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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