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Urantsetseg Tserendorj
Court of Appeal

Urantsetseg Tserendorj's killer shouts, 'F**k off, get me out of this court', after losing appeal

The teenager’s appeal against the severity of his sentence was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

A TEENAGER SERVING a life sentence with a review after 13 years for murdering Urantsetseg Tserendorj while she walked alone on a deserted Dublin street shouted “f**k off, get me out of this court”, today when he realised that the Court of Appeal was not going to reduce his detention term.

The 17-year-old, who can’t be named as he is still a minor, also shouted, “fuck off smelly rats” as staff from the Oberstown Juvenile Detention Centre ushered him to the cell area. The outburst came as President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, was offering his sympathies to the family of Ms Tserendorj. Her husband Ulambayer Surenkhor and other family members have attended all previous court dates but were not present in court today.

At the beginning of today’s proceedings Antonia Boyle BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, revealed that Mr Surenkhor and his family had written a letter asking the court to delay delivery of its judgment until 20 January next year.

A junior barrister for the accused told the court that they objected to the delay as it would have “serious ramifications” given that the defendant will have turned 18 by that date.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the letter indicated that the deceased’s family is seeking advice from an “international advocate”. The president said there is “no role” for such an advocate at this stage given that the three-judge court had already deliberated and come to its view. He refused to adjourn the matter.

Ms Justice Tara Burns delivered the judgment, rejecting all grounds of the appeal against the severity of the sentence imposed by Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the Central Criminal Court in February last year. The court had previously rejected the teenager’s appeal against conviction.

The sentence was appealed on the grounds that it was disproportionate and was “insufficiently reflective” of the age of the accused who was 14 at the time of the offence.

The teenager’s lawyers also argued that other children convicted of murder had received lower sentences despite having greater moral culpability. They further argued that the judge failed to adequately reflect mitigating circumstances including that the defendant was addicted to drugs and that his intention was to cause serious harm but not to kill Ms Tserendorj.

Ms Justice Burns said that when considering the severity of the life sentence in detention with a 13-year review it is important to have regard to the nature of the offence.

“This was an intended attack, with a knife, on a defenceless woman in a deserted street late at night.” She said that while he may not have intended to kill Ms Tserendorj, “that does not detract from the premeditated intention of the appellant to rob a person utilising a knife”.

She noted that there had been a prior encounter with a shopkeeper that day in which the teenager produced the knife and 25 minutes after murdering Ms Tserendorj, the youth again showed the knife to another woman.

She said that during the encounter with Ms Tserendorj, he used the knife, “not for the purpose of instilling fear in the deceased. It is produced to be used on the deceased, as the appellant immediately swiped the knife at her.”

The judge noted Ms Tserendorj’s attempts to avoid the knife while her attacker “stabbed the knife at the deceased’s neck”.

“While this was accepted by the sentencing judge to be a fleeting intention to cause serious injury… the appellant clearly intended to use this knife on the deceased to affect a robbery.”

Despite his intoxication, the defendant’s actions showed “clear, intentional, planned behaviour to use a knife to affect a robbery which then developed into a fleeting intention to cause serious injury when he failed to obtain anything from this defenceless woman”.

She said the sentencing judge’s categorisation of the offence as ” very serious and grave” was not an error.

She said that the appeal court might have imposed a “slightly shorter period of review” but the one imposed by Mr Justice Hunt “lies within the band of what is appropriate” and was not an error in principle.

Ms Justice Burns concluded: “It is now for the appellant to work towards that 13-year review date to establish his rehabilitation and suitability for release.”

Mr Justice Birmingham began to offer his condolences and sympathies to the deceased’s family, despite their absence from court, when the defendant began shouting and demanded to leave the court.


Ms Tserendorj was stabbed in the neck on a walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay in the IFSC, Dublin on 20 January 2021 and was declared dead nine days later on the evening of 29 January.

She died from a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by a stab wound that partially severed her carotid artery. Ms Tserendorj, who worked in Dublin’s city centre, had moved to Ireland with her husband and two children approximately 15 years before she was killed.

The streets of Dublin were largely deserted at the time due to covid restrictions and Ms Tserendorj was walking home from work alone when the teenager approached and asked for money. When she said she did not have any money, he stabbed her. He then cycled away and later attempted to rob another woman.

The accused denied the murder of Ms Tserendorj but pleaded guilty to her manslaughter. He was found guilty of her murder by a jury last year following two trials. The first trial ended with a jury disagreement.

Sentencing hearing

At a sentencing hearing last year Detective Sergeant Brendan Casey said both of the teenager’s parents were chronic drug addicts. His grandmother gave evidence of him becoming involved in the abuse of drugs from an early age.

Det Sgt Casey said that the teenager had 31 previous convictions, including two attempted robberies, five robberies, one production of an article, one assault causing harm, and a number of drug offences.

Ms Tserendorj’s husband, Ulambayer Surenkhor wrote a statement to the court, saying that he and his family had lived happily until “that terrible tragedy”.

“I lost my beloved wife and our children lost their mother. My health has been affected by severe mental difficulties and I have heart problems. I get unstable, lose my temper, and I just want to scream.

She was kind and soft like my mother, and we were each other’s first loves.

“That horrible day, due to the loss of her mother, my daughter is in deep emotional turmoil,” said Mr Surenkhor.

On the same night as the murder, the teenager attempted to steal a phone from another woman, Tayo Odelade. Det Sgt Casey said she resisted and swore at him, to which the teenager said he was only messing.

Ms Odelade replied that he was not messing and again cursed at him. He got offended and said:

That could have been a lot worse for you.”

He then took out a knife from under his jacket which she said was about 5 inches long. She apologised and he put the knife away and left.

The teenager was also charged with an incident in a Spar shop on O’Connell Street at 5.30am on the same date. Det Sgt Casey said the teenager went to the till with sweets behind his back and said to the shopkeeper: “I have a fucking blade, what are you going to do about it?”

Another employee arrived and the accused left the shop, but as he was leaving, he said: “You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”

The shopkeeper, John Caulwell, made a victim impact statement in which he said: “I was petrified and feared for my safety. When he left, I was trembling, all I could think about was that I could be stabbed. I am 16 years in my business and this is the only time I thought I might be killed.”

There was a final charge against the teenager of stealing a bicycle two days earlier on 18 January in Talbot Place. Det Sgt Casey said that a woman, Yu Yu Son, was working late and was about to get on her bike when she was approached by the teenager, who put one hand on the handlebars and one hand on the seat.

He used the bike to push her, injuring her legs, before he pulled the bike from her, got on it and cycled away. Both her legs were bruised and very sore. She recognised him later and recorded an image which she shared with gardaí.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Son said: “I leave the light on when I go to bed, and whenever I see teenagers in black clothing and hats, I get afraid. I’m afraid to chat face to face with strangers.”

The teenager’s grandmother read out a letter to the court, which she said she had written to give a glimpse into the child he was.

“I am not a mother who sees no wrong in a child. I never had anything to do with crime and I don’t condone criminal behaviour,” she said.

She said her grandson used to be “sports mad”, excelling at hurling and boxing. She said he changed when his birth mother introduced herself to him in the street and when she did not get what she wanted from him, his mother said she would cut herself. He never returned to boxing or GAA after that and began to get into trouble at school.

“His new friends were all involved in stealing bikes and using the money to buy drugs. I got many agencies involved but nothing worked. He would be awake at night crying and made three suicide attempts,” she said.

She said that Ms Tserendorj has become part of her prayers, and the pain of watching Ms Tserendorj’s husband “brought me to my knees”.