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Man (20) stabbed to death after calling his teenage murderer a 'rat' during a drug-row

Glen Osbourne was stabbed to death in Ballybough, Dublin, earlier this year.

Image: PA

A 20-YEAR-old was stabbed to death after he called his teenage murderer a “rat” during a drug-related row, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

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

At a sentence hearing today, the court heard that Mr Osborne’s girlfriend Lauren Cray gave birth to their son two months after he was murdered.

The court also heard that the defendant phoned Mr Osborne’s mother before the stabbing and said: “Wait and see what I’m going to do.”

In a written statement to the court, Ms 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.”

Detective Sergeant Ken Hoare of Mountjoy Garda Station told Pauline Whalley 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 Sunday before he died he went with the defendant and they got drugs without making payment.

The following day the windows of Mr Osborne’s home were smashed in what the detective said was retaliation for the fact payment had not been made. Mr 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. Shortly before that the defendant had called Rose Osborne and told her: “Wait and see what I’m going to do.”

The defendant put down the bag before a fight broke out in which witnesses said Mr Osborne had the upper hand. They were split apart and the defendant retrieved the bag before a second fight began that was caught on CCTV. Garda Hoare said the defendant could be seen swinging his arm and stabbing Mr Osborne once in the chest.

A pathologist’s report showed that he died having suffered 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 that night when he was stopped by a garda patrol.

In interview he initially claimed he was frightened and grabbed a piece of glass which he said he used to stab Mr Osborne but he later admitted to having used a knife.

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Garda Hoare said he 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 Mr 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 Dwyer told Mr Justice Paul McDermott that because his client is a minor he does not face a mandatory life sentence.

He asked the judge to put rehabilitation at front and centre of sentencing and to consider his client’s early guilty plea, that he was 16 at the time, has significant cognitive deficits and has shown “very real expressions of remorse”.

He said his client has demonstrated a capacity to develop, mature and rehabilitate during his time at Oberstown Detention Centre.

Mr Justice McDermott remanded the defendant until a further hearing on December 7.

About the author:

Eoin Reynolds

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