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Leah Farrell via
Central Criminal Court

17-year-old sentenced to life for murdering his friend, with review due in 10 years

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty in August to the murder of Glen ‘Ossie’ Osborne in Dublin.

A TEENAGER WHO pleaded guilty to murdering his friend who had called him a “rat” has been sentenced to detention for life with a review after ten years.

The 17-year-old, who can’t be named because he is a minor, pleaded guilty in August to the murder of Glen ‘Ossie’ Osborne (20) at Ballybough House, Ballybough, Dublin on 15 April this year.

Osborne’s partner Lauren Cray gave birth to their first child two months after his death.

The convicted boy will remain at Oberstown Detention Centre until his 18th birthday when he will be transferred to an adult prison.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott at the Central Criminal Court today ordered reports to be drawn up by relevant health professionals on the boy’s 18th birthday and every two years following his transfer to adult prison. The judge who reviews the case in 2030 will have access to those reports before deciding whether to continue his imprisonment.

Mr Justice McDermott said that the most significant aggravating factor in the murder was that the teen had armed himself with a knife before confronting Glen Osborne.

He said: “The fact he brought a knife and contemplated to use it, and the fact he used it on another human being he knew to be unarmed, who was his friend and who was unaware this was to happen, was an aggravating factor in this case.”

The most significant mitigating factor, the judge said, was that he pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, indicating “a willingness to face up to his responsibility and to take on board what he has done.”

He noted the boy’s genuine “sorrow, regret and remorse,” and said the guilty plea shows an “appreciation of the appalling damage he has inflicted on Glen Osborne’s family”.

He added that in some cases expressions of remorse can be of a token nature but “not in this case.”

“It is serious and deep rooted and I think he sincerely means it,” the judge added.

The judge noted from various reports that the defendant has a problem with drugs having begun using at 12 or 13 years of age. He also has a “very short fuse and is very prone to being angry”.

He suffers, the judge said, from behavioural issues, boundary issues and anger issues which need to be addressed and are a “big concern”.

He further described the boy as impetuous and said he has a deficiency in his judgment. He also noted that he had a “chaotic lifestyle” and difficulties within his family growing up.

Mr Justice McDermott said that given the fact that the boy had struck a fatal blow with a knife, the appropriate sentence is one of life. He added that the attack had “many of the hallmarks of immaturity and stupidity, lack of judgement and proportionality” but was not of “the most egregious or malicious” type such as a meticulously planned killing.

Therefore, he said, he could allow a review of the life sentence after ten years.

Members of the boy’s family began crying as the judge spoke.

Mr Justice McDermott said he expects the probation service to work with professionals in the system to furnish a plan for the boy’s development over the coming years until his review in 2030.

Evidence heard at sentence hearing

At a sentence hearing in October Detective Sergeant Ken Hoare of Mountjoy Garda Station told Pauline Walley SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions that the accused had a “somewhat troubled upbringing” and had been homeless with his mother during his adolescence.

The deceased, he said, had been promised by his employer that he would begin a carpentry apprenticeship but when the Covid restrictions came in he was laid off and started taking cannabis and cocaine.

On the Sunday before he died he went with the defendant and they got drugs without making payment. The following day the windows of Glen Osborne’s home were smashed, in what the detective said was retaliation for the fact payment had not been made.

Glen Osborne believed that the defendant had identified his home to those people, that he had “ratted him to a third party”. The day of the murder there were “angry messages to and fro” and the defendant was labelled a “rat”. One hour before the murder the defendant’s own father sent him a message calling him a rat.

The defendant, carrying a white bag with a knife in it, took a taxi to Ballybough where he met the deceased at the entrance to Ballybough House. There was a fight which was broken up by onlookers but then a second fight began that was caught on CCTV.

Garda Hoare said the defendant, who had by now taken the knife from the bag, could be seen swinging his arm and stabbing Mr Osborne once in the chest. A pathologist’s report showed that he died from a single stab wound that penetrated the heart causing massive blood loss.

The accused ran away, but was on his way to Mountjoy Garda Station with his mother and aunt planning to hand himself in when he was stopped by a Garda patrol that night. He accepted what he had done and pleaded guilty to murder.

In a written statement to the court, Glen Osborne’s partner Lauren Cray said she and Glen fell in love and had moved in with one another and planned to have a child.

He was excited when he found out he was going to be a father and cried when he first heard the child’s heartbeat. All he wanted, she said, was to have his son and for them to be together.

Glen’s mother Rose said Glen was a fighter from the day he was born six and a half weeks premature. He was a “grafter” who got up early every morning to go to work and never brought trouble to her door.

She said: “Glen grew into a lovely young man with a cheeky smile. He had the gift of the gab and he was a charmer with the ladies.”

He was delighted when Lauren got pregnant, she said, adding: “When he was murdered it was the start of my nightmare. I died with Glen that day.”

He would have been 21 in June this year, “and that was worse than the funeral of my only child. My reason for living has been taken away from me.”

She said she feels herself failing every day but she doesn’t mind as she would “gladly go to God.” She added: “I’m sitting broken and alone waiting for Glen to come in and say, “hello princess what’s for dinner?” She said she would give anything to have her son back. “My ray of light is gone forever.”

Garda Hoare said the defendant was distressed and genuinely remorseful.

Garda Hoare agreed with defence counsel James Dwyer SC that the defendant had a chaotic background, having been homeless and with both of his parents having been to prison at various times. He said that to be called a rat would be an “extreme, negative” thing in the defendant’s social background.

He further agreed that he hadn’t used the knife at the beginning of the fight and that he didn’t set out to murder Glen Osborne when he went to Ballybough House.

In a written letter of apology the defendant said he was sorry and heartbroken at what he had done. Addressing Rose Osborne, he said: “I say a prayer every night that you can get through this.”

Mr Justice McDermott ended the sentence hearing by offering his condolences to the family of the deceased.