Sunday 23 October 2016

Man sentenced to life in jail for 'brutal' murder of his uncle shot in the back

David Cully
Edward O'Connor was shot in front of his sons

A Dublin man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for what was described today as the "brutal murder" of his uncle in 2013.

Father-of-one David Cully (24) had admitted killing Edward O’Connor but denied murdering him. The Central Criminal Court heard the 41-year-old died of two gunshot wounds to his back.

The jury of seven women and five men spent more than eight hours over three days deliberating before returning a unanimous verdict of guilty of murder.

Cully of Kilshane Road, Finglas West had pleaded not guilty to murdering his uncle, but guilty to his manslaughter at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15, 2013.

The 24-year-old claimed he shot Mr O’Connor ‘in the heat of the moment’ after he commented about somebody who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against the deceased.

The allegation was investigated, but the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to prosecute, the Central Criminal Court heard.

The trial heard that both men had attended an organised ‘straightener’ between two other men on the day of the killing and that Cully shot his uncle in the back after the fight.

Cully told gardai that his uncle had made a comment that had caused him to lose control.

Both the deceased and the accused attended the fight in an open yard on the Sunday afternoon and David Cully brought a gun.

Mr Cully told gardai that after the fight, Mr O'Connor had made a remark about the person who had made the allegation against him (the deceased). The accused said he ‘just lost it’ and had no intention of doing what he did.

"I don’t know why I did it or what came over to me, I just fired the gun at him," he said in interview. "Well I do know," he continued, explaining that he 'just had hatred towards him' since the allegation was made.

In it, he detailed his shooting of his uncle following an arranged fight between two other men. He said that his uncle had riled him up by making a comment about the complainant of the alleged sexual abuse.

Pauline Walley SC prosecuting today said that the jury verdict was unanimous.

"Mr Cully was convicted by unanimous verdict for the murder of Edward O'Connor. It is the case that Mr Cully had alleged he was provoked by the deceased. That claim was rejected by the jury and he was convicted," she said.

Miss Wally read a victim impact statement written by the wife of the deceased to the court.

"My name is Charlotte O' Connor, wife of Eddie O'Connor, who was brutally murdered," she said.

"I make this statement on behalf of Darren, Tanya and Eddie who have had their father taken from them in such a horrific manner. Eddie was cruelly taken from us," she said.

Mrs Charlotte O'Connor said that the horror will remain with her for the rest of her life.

"I am 42 years of age and Eddie has been part of my life since I was 14. We were childhood sweethearts - we did everything together," she said.

"Eddie was a hard worker and a real family man. He always made time for his three children. He was proud of the three of them. They idolised their father," she added.

"It is hard to look at them try to get on with lives - there will be a massive void. Upcoming birthdays, graduations and weddings will be tainted," she said.

"Eddie has been snatched from us by a horrible crime. Eddie came from a large family of six brothers and one sister. He worked in the family business. His brothers have been saddened by his missing presence in the work place," she continued.

Mrs O 'Connor said that following allegations made against Eddie, that he never had a moments piece.

"It broke Eddie's heart," she said.

"I think about Eddie every minute of every day. I ask myself why me and my family have this cross to bear for the remainder of our lives - the brutal circumstances in which Eddie was taken away from us," she said.

"Eddies plan was to retire at 50 and move to a holiday home. I miss everything we did together," she continued.

"We had so much more to do together in life - the anger will live with me forever," she added.

Mrs O'Connor thanked gardai for their support, thanking in particular the three female guards who came to the scene as the deceased lay dying, giving him CPR.

"Nothing will bring Eddie back to us. I no longer feel I have something to live for. To have someone taken away from you is a burden no woman should have to carry. We love you Eddie," she concluded.

Ms Caroline Biggs SC defending said that Cully had 29 previous convictions for misuse of drugs, theft, road traffic offences and fraud.

Mr Justice Carroll Moran passed on his condolences to Charlette O'Connor and the children, friends and relatives of the deceased.

"Nothing I say is going to bring back the deceased. There is a sense of regret at a life needlessly lost," said Mr Justice Moran.

"The law obliges me to pass a mandatory sentence (of life imprisonment) backdated to December 16th 2013," he said.

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