herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Third man locked up for 'devastating' gangland murder

Eugene Cullen
Eugene Cullen

A Dublin man became the third person sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment for the same gangland murder.

Gary Flynn (31), of Rossfield Drive, Tallaght, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at the victim's home in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

After a nine-week trial and nine hours of the judge's summary at the Central Criminal Court, it took the jury one hour and 40 minutes to convict Flynn of murder.

When the verdict was read out, his girlfriend, mother and family members cried and hugged him before he was taken away.

Mr O'Byrne's family and his girlfriend, Sharon Rattigan, who was also shot by the gunman, left the court quietly to finish writing a victim impact statement.

Devastating

Mr O'Byrne's sister, Charis, who was married just 10 weeks after her brother's murder, later read the statement to the court.

"My mam misses everything that a fun, caring first-born son brought to her life," she said.

"Shay had a great relationship with my dad and the loss of his eldest son and best friend has been truly devastating."

Charis spoke of how Seamus had been a "rock" for their brother Rob when he was left in a wheelchair after a diving accident in 2005.

"How Sharon gets through this we do not know," she said.

Justice Patrick McCarthy backdated the sentence to October 2013 when Flynn was first arrested and detained by police in Northern Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

During the trial, prosecution counsel Alex Owens told the jury that Flynn was not the gunman who shot Mr O'Byrne four times before turning the gun on Ms Rattigan.

Another man, Garrett O'Brien, of Cloverhill, Bray, was convicted in November 2012 for the shooting.

Giving her evidence at the start of the trial, Ms Rattigan described how a gunman appeared outside their home. He opened fire, shooting Mr O'Byrne four times before she tackled him.

O'Brien fired again, hitting her in the leg, but she fought on and both of them toppled over a garden wall.

O'Brien fled, but not before Ms Rattigan had taken his gun and mobile phone.

The phone was later used to finger O'Brien as the shooter and to link other members of the gang to the murder plot.

A second man, Eugene Cullen, was convicted in March 2014 for his role in organising the murder. He has since died in custody.

Evidence

Flynn was convicted after the jury heard he was seen on CCTV travelling in a car with Cullen less than two hours before the murder.

Much of the prosecution case was based on mobile phone evidence and CCTV footage collected by various gardai. Liam Fleury, of the Forensic Science Institute, said he found particles of gunshot residue on a grey hoodie that Flynn was wearing when he was arrested.

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