Central Criminal Court
Patricia O'Connor's siblings are "still in disbelief" over the grandmother's "cruel and brutal" murder and were sickened at the involvement of her immediate family, the Central Criminal Court heard today.
A 35-year-old man was today (MONDAY) sentenced to life in prison for murdering the retired hospital worker, whose dismembered remains were found scattered across the Dublin and Wicklow mountains three years ago.
Father-of-three Kieran Greene was found guilty last February by a Central Criminal Court jury of inflicting "catastrophic injuries" on Patricia O'Connor (61) in a sustained attack in the bathroom of her Rathfarnham home. Greene had his sentence adjourned on April 20 until today in light of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Four other defendants - Louise O'Connor (41), Stephanie O'Connor (22), Keith Johnston (43) and Augustine 'Gus' O’Connor (76) - were also present in court today for their sentence hearings after also having them adjourned last April.
The deceased's daughter Louise O'Connor, her granddaughter Stephanie O'Connor and Keith Johnston were each found guilty in February of impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Greene, knowing or believing him to have murdered Mrs O'Connor on May 29, 2017.
Patricia's husband Augustine 'Gus' O’Connor was originally part of the trial but shortly before it began in January, he pleaded guilty to reporting his wife as a missing person to gardai at Rathfarnham Garda Station, Dublin 14 on June 1, 2017, knowing she was already dead.
The Central Criminal Court also heard two victim impact statements today from Patricia O'Connor's sister and son.
In an emotional victim impact statement, the deceased's son Richard O'Connor began by saying: "Devastated, heartbroken and deceived, there are only a few words to describe how I've felt about the murder of my mum since the 29th May 2017."
"My ability to have trust in people has changed. To process the amount of lies told to me by those who were my close family has led to many sleepless nights. The constant questions I ask myself, could I have prevented this? Why didn't I see the deceit around me? How could people I called family do such an unspeakable act?"
The victim's son also said that throughout the trial his mother was portrayed in a "despicable way, trying to make out that she was a horrible person which I, her family and friends knew she was not."
A second victim impact statement was read to the court by Mrs O'Connor's sister, Collette Barry, on behalf of her brothers and sisters.
Ms Barry said the sisters and brothers of Mrs O'Connor are "still in disbelief of her cruel and brutal murder. We were all sickened to find out who was involved in her murder".
She added: "The lies that were told, the cruel cover-up of her murder; it has been shocking and utterly disgusting to sit through out the seven week trial to see all of their faces with no emotion of any kind."
"We were deeply hurt by how Patricia's character was so cruelly tarnished by their spiteful lies. The people who truly knew her, her sisters, brothers, friends, work colleagues, her neighbours, will defend her kind, caring, loving nature, a jolly woman who sang out loud as she went about her day. They can never take those previous memories away from us. We are still trying to come to terms with the brutal and violent way her life came to a very sad end. Trisha we love you always," she concluded.
After hearing the two statements this afternoon, Mr Justice Paul McDermott sentenced Greene to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murder. The sentence was backdated to June 15 2017, when he went into custody.
The judge said he has been given a great deal to consider and he would sentence the four other defendants this Friday.
Greene had pleaded not guilty to murdering the retired hospital worker at her home in Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on May 29 2017.
The jury accepted the prosecution's case that Greene bludgeoned the retired hospital worker to death with a hurley and that his claim of self-defence "did not hold any water". They rejected Greene's claim that Mrs O'Connor's husband, Augustine 'Gus' O'Connor, had killed his wife using a crowbar and he [Greene] had taken the blame.
It was the State's contention that there was no evidence of a single defensive wound on Mrs O'Connor's body and Greene bore an "ill-will" and "a particular animus or bad feeling" against the deceased.
The seven-week trial heard that the body of Mrs O’Connor was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations over a 30km range in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10 and 14, 2017.
Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, gave evidence in the trial that Mrs O'Connor's head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Mother-of-five Louise O'Connor, of Millmount Court, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14 was found guilty of agreeing to or acquiescing in her daughter Stephanie O'Connor disguising herself as Patricia O'Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on May 29, 2017 in order to conceal the fact that Patricia O'Connor was dead.
Stephanie O'Connor also of Millmount Court, Dundrum Road, Dublin 14 was found guilty of disguising herself as Patricia O'Connor at Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 at a point in time after her murder on May 29, 2017 in order to conceal the fact that she was already dead.
Johnston of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was found guilty of assisting Greene in the purchase of various implements at Woodie's, Mr Price, B&Q and Shoe Zone, Tallaght, Dublin 24 on June 9, 2017, which were to be used in the concealment of the remains of Mrs O'Connor. The handyman is the ex-partner of the deceased's daughter, Louise O'Connor, and is father to two of her five children including Stephanie O'Connor.
Greene had given two accounts of Mrs O'Connor's death. In an interview with gardai in June 2017, Greene said he was in the bathroom when Mrs O’Connor attacked him with a hurley.
He maintained that he had disarmed Mrs O'Connor and acted in self-defence by hitting her with a hurley and as a result of that she may have died. He claimed he was the only one involved in the physical altercation and had acted alone in removing her body from the house, burying her in a shallow grave in Co Wexford and subsequently dismembering her.
The trial heard that six months after he was charged with her murder, Greene changed his account of killing and dismembering his partner's mother. While on remand in Cloverhill Prison in December 2017, Greene told gardai that he had taken “the rap” and felt he was being set-up, as his girlfriend Louise O'Connor subsequently started going back out with her ex-boyfriend Keith Johnston.
In his December interview Greene claimed that, although there was an altercation, he was not responsible for Mrs O'Connor's death, that her husband Augustine 'Gus' O'Connor had killed her with a crowbar and that other family members had been involved.