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Justice David Keane said this was a “senseless” murder with no motive. Alamy Stock Photo
Courts

Violent criminal who 'brutally' murdered pensioner with axe is jailed for life

Oliver Doran was given a life sentence for the 2021 murder of Kwok Ping Cheng by Justice David Keane.

A VIOLENT CRIMINAL who brutally hacked a 76-year-old man to death with an axe in the victim’s sheltered accommodation has been sentenced to life in prison.

Oliver Doran, with an address at Sophia Housing, Cork Street, Dublin 8 was given a life sentence for the 2021 murder of Kwok Ping Cheng today by Justice David Keane.

Justice Keane said this was a “senseless” murder with no motive, and he ruled that he was required to impose the maximum sentence on Doran.

The 24-year-old initially pleaded not guilty to the murder of the victim at Robinson’s Court on Cork Street between 28 and 29 April 2021.

He subsequently changed his plea to one of guilty after the trial started in January.

Detective Garda Richard Pender gave evidence to prosecuting counsel Anne-Marie Lawlor in the Central Criminal Court today that the victim lived in sheltered accommodation at Robinson’s Court, while Doran lived about 100 metres away.

The trial featured CCTV footage that showed the victim returning home on 28 April, as well as coverage of the rear of his home through which Doran gained entry.

The footage showed Doran first entering the apartment at 9.59pm and staying until 11.12pm, before he left and returned to his own home.

He returned to the victim’s home at 1.03am on 29 April and remained there for 11 minutes.

The victim’s body was discovered the following morning by a support worker whose job it was to check up on the residents of the sheltered accommodation.

The jury also heard evidence from pathologist Dr Heidi Okker, who said that the victim suffered multiple injuries, including blunt and sharp force trauma, incision wounds and chop wounds.

He had multiple lacerations to his scalp and forehead and suffered bruises and abrasions, which were caused by an axe found adjacent to his body.

The victim had injuries to his forearms and hands and fractures to his forearms, which were defence injuries.

He also suffered a fracture of his left mandible, which was caused by the blunt side of the axe. Dr Okkers said that the amount of blood loss resulted in the victim’s death.

Detective Garda Pender confirmed that the axe used was brought by Doran from his own home and DNA matching his was found on the handle.

Detective Garda Pender said that after the murder, Doran disposed of his clothing, a hammer and a crowbar and absconded from the country.

He returned to Ireland on 4 May 2021, and was arrested on 5 May.

He made admissions to Gardaí but maintained that he could not recall what had happened as he had taken drugs and had been drinking.

Detective Garda Pender said that Doran had 98 previous convictions, including thefts, road traffic matters, violent disorder, obstruction of a peace officer, robbery, public order offences, assault, possession of knives, and production of an article.

A victim impact statement was prepared by the victim’s son, Jason, and read to the court by Detective Garda Pender.

“My father’s life was cruelly taken away, and the question I have asked is ‘why?’ He was an elderly man going about his life,

“I may never know the answers. Did they have a grievance or a falling out? The fact is a man’s life was cut short. He did not deserve to have his life taken away,” said the victim’s son.

Jason Cheng said that Doran had murdered his father “in a brutal way” and then returned to the scene of the crime.

He said that Doran and his family had made their escape the following day, “like happy families”.

“You won’t be playing happy families when the sentence is read out,” Cheng said.

“Now you have pleaded guilty, now you have to pay the price for your crime.

You can’t escape reality. Your children will be asking ‘Where is daddy?’ – that is your reality.

Defence counsel Michael Bowman said that his client had expressed his “deepest sadness and regret” for what he had done, but he had an inability to recollect what had happened.

He said that Doran could only offer his condolences and apologies to the Cheng family.

In sentencing, Justice Keane said this was an appalling crime and he offered his condolences to the deceased’s son and family. 

The judge said that a probation report raised a number of concerns about Doran, including his likelihood of him to reoffend, his propensity for violence, his negative peer association and history of addiction and the lack of structure in his life.

“I am required to sentence him to prison for life,” said Justice Keane.

Pointing out that Doran fled the country and returned shortly afterwards, the judge commended the Gardaí for the thoroughness and excellence of their investigation.

Although Doran had gone into custody on 6 May 2021, Justice Keane said that bearing in mind the dreadful circumstances of the case, in which a vulnerable, elderly man in sheltered accommodation had been murdered with no motive, the life sentence would only be backdated to 17 January this year, the date when Doran entered his guilty plea.

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