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Gerry O'Carroll: Warren murder witness threats are a new low

I was appalled to hear of the disturbing aftermath to the killing of Warren O'Connor in north Dublin.

The stabbing to death of this innocent man in Donaghmede was a grievous affront to the laws of society. And in a chilling development, the pregnant woman who witnessed the killing has now fled her home as she fears for her life.

This unfortunate woman and her partner were in the car along with their young son as they watched the horrifying spectacle of Warren being murdered on January 16.

Frighteningly, the ruthless killers rammed the car with no thoughts for her safety, or that of her son or unborn child.

Now heavily pregnant, she no longer feels safe in her own home. It begs the question, does the rule of law apply in this part of Dublin, or has it moved ever closer to anarchy?

Innocent

What kind of world are we living in if an innocent young mother cannot enjoy the sanctuary of her own home? Such is her terror that she and her family have been forced to flee as they now fear their lives could be in danger.

Warren O'Connor was cruelly stabbed to death after visiting this couple's house and making a seemingly harmless request to another apartment to keep the noise down.

After sensing danger, he left the building, bringing with him his friends and their young son. Yet this good samaritan was hunted down and killed. A young man has subsequently been arrested and questioned in relation to the killing and a file has been sent to the DPP.

It is with a heavy heart that I've observed a gruesome and bloody start to 2010.

In early January, John Paul Joyce was found shot to death near Dublin airport. This was followed by a double execution of two men in Pearse Street.

Now we are learning of the devastating consequences of the death of brave Warren. That woman and her partner will certainly be vital witnesses in any forthcoming trial and they are no doubt fearful of the consequences.

It seems the rule of law is being trampled in parts of Dublin and the law of the jungle is taking precedence.

The grim statistics show that only 10pc of gangland killings in 2008 and 2009 have been solved. I believe this figure could be increased when these cases are held in the Special Criminal Courts.

The new breed of criminals has no fear and no respect for human life. The past five years have seen a growing number of murders involving knives. The trend is that young men are both the victims and the culprits.

In a recent trial involving a knife killing, Mr Justice Barry White spoke about the need for deterrent sentencing. Indeed, this paper has campaigned against the scourge of knife attacks and I believe this has influenced the decision to impose five-year sentences on people found with a knife in suspicious circumstances.

Nonetheless, there is more to be done. Where killers of good samaritans like Warren O'Connor are brought to justice, I would like to see that a life sentence means 25 years without parole.


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