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Patricia O'Connor murder sentencing adjourned until June due to Covid-19 restrictions

The sentencing hearing was due to take place today.

Image: Garda Press Office

A FATHER-OF-THREE found guilty of murdering a retired grandmother, whose dismembered remains were found scattered across the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, has had his sentence adjourned until June in light of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Kieran Greene (35) 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.

He had pleaded not guilty to murdering the retired hospital worker at her home in Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14 on 29 May, 2017.

Four other defendants – Louise O’Connor (41), Stephanie O’Connor (22), Keith Johnston (43) and Augustine ‘Gus’ O’Connor (76) – had all been remanded on continuing bail until today, when it was expected that their sentence hearings would take place.

However, the four accused were excused from attending the Central Criminal Court this morning and their sentence hearings were also adjourned as a result of reduced court sittings in the capital due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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 the 61 year-old on 29 May, 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 gardaí at Rathfarnham garda station on 1 June, 2017, knowing she was already dead.

Greene, who is in custody, was this morning dealt with via video link by trial judge Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

The judge told the court that this matter was in for sentence today, but that he was not in a position to proceed with it as a result of “the circumstances that prevail”.

The judge said he proposed to put the matter in for sentence on 22 June and a victim impact statement will be received on that date. He asked parties to appear then.

“There may well be an indication by the court registrar to parties that their presence may not be required if the restrictions remain in place,” he concluded.

Seven-week trial

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 29 May, 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 the same date 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 9 June, 2017, which were to be used in the concealment of the remains of the deceased.

The handyman is the ex-partner of Louise O’Connor, and is father to two of her five children, including Stephanie O’Connor.

The seven-week trial heard that the body of the deceased was dismembered into 15 separate parts that were found at nine different locations over a 30km range in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between 10 June and 14 June, 2017.

Former Depute State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, gave evidence in the trial that her head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

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Two accounts of death

Greene had given two accounts of the killing. In an interview with gardaí in June 2017, he initially said he was in the bathroom when the deceased attacked him with a hurley.

He maintained that he had disarmed the 61 year-old and acted in self-defence by hitting her with a hurley and as a result of that she may have died.

He claimed that 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 gardaí 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 the killing, that her husband Augustine ‘Gus’ O’Connor had killed the deceased with a crowbar and that other family members had been involved.

Comments have been closed as sentencing is yet to take place.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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