Grandmother-of-seven was battered to death with a hurley
Kieran Greene has begun a life sentence for murdering grandmother-of-seven Patricia O'Connor, who he battered to death with a hurley before cutting the body up with a hacksaw and scattering the remains in the Wicklow mountains.
Greene (35), dressed in a grey tracksuit and wearing a blue face mask, did not react as the sentence was handed down at the Central Criminal Court.
He killed Patricia (61), his partner's mother, at the family home they shared in South Dublin, then temporarily buried her body in a shallow grave in Co Wexford before digging it up days later and dismembering it, dumping the pieces along a mountain roadside.
The father-of-three had pleaded not guilty but was convicted following a seven-week trial that ended in February.
Greene was one of five people charged over the retired hospital cleaner's death.
His co-accused will be sentenced on Friday.
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 all 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 or acquiesced in this.
Johnston assisted Greene in later buying tools for the concealment of Patricia's remains.
Before the trial started, the fifth accused, Patricia's husband Gus O'Connor (76), admitted falsely reporting she was missing on June 1, 2017, when he knew she was dead.
Patricia was murdered on May 29, 2017, at the house at Mountain View Park, Rathfarnham she shared with family including Gus, Louise, Stephanie and Greene.
Johnston, Stephanie's father, was considered a trusted member of the extended family.
Patricia's dismembered remains were found scattered in the mountains between June 10 and 14 that year.
A post-mortem found she died of blunt force trauma to the head caused by at least three blows from a solid implement.
Yesterday, the court heard Gus O'Connor initially said he had slept all night and knew nothing about what happened.
He then admitted lying, saying he was woken by Stephanie. They called him down and he saw "something big" wrapped up on the floor. Louise said "ma is dead" and that she had been attacked by Greene in the bathroom.
"I was shocked, I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he told gardai.
He said he wanted to ring gardai 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".
As far as he was concerned, the body was whole when it was removed from the house. He told gardai he felt sorry and he should get what he deserved. He felt remorse and sadness and he had loved Patricia.
He said there was not a night went by that he did not think of her.
Michael P O'Higgins SC, for Gus O'Connor, said his client accepted his behaviour was inexcusable.
Referring to a psychological report, he said it seemed Louise "somewhat controlled the household", the picture of the home was "somewhat toxic" and it would appear that both Mr and Ms 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".
He accepted he himself should have contacted gardai.
The report suggested he was easy-going but vulnerable and suggestible and he went into a "state of shock" on the night.
Mr O'Higgins said it would not be in the public interest to jail Gus O'Connor, 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".
Presenting testimonials, he said a neighbour described Louise as "a wonderful mother" who "lives for her children".
Stephanie had engaged in an act designed to "throw gardai off the scent" but the "ship had sailed" by the time gardai uncovered it, and after that she had maintained her position, 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 previous convictions except for Greene, who had one for uninsured driving. Only Greene was in the dock.