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'58 senseless seconds changed everything forever' - widow

Murdered Adrian Donohoe’s family tell of shock and devastation since the night he was gunned down

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Murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe’s widow Caroline arrives for the sentencing hearing of killer Aaron Brady in Dublin

Murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe’s widow Caroline arrives for the sentencing hearing of killer Aaron Brady in Dublin

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Murdered Garda Adrian Donohoe’s widow Caroline arrives for the sentencing hearing of killer Aaron Brady in Dublin

The murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe by Aaron Brady and his gang devastated the lives of his family, friends and colleagues.

Heart-breaking accounts from those closest to him of how their lives have progressed since Det Gda Donohoe's killing were heard in court yesterday as Brady was jailed for life for the capital murder.

They told of the pain of multiple families and the unbearable toll it took on Det Gda Donohoe's garda partner Joe Ryan, who was also threatened at the scene.

He told the court that he "always feels guilty that it should have been me and not Adrian".

Victim impact statements included one from his wife Caroline, who was also a garda and who was at the scene less than an hour after the shooting.

"We had a loving, happy family, everything was just perfect, but in just 58 senseless seconds everything changed forever.

"I will never recover from what I had to see at Lordship that night," she said in the statement read to the court.

"Sometimes I can't get the images out of my mind."

She said there were "absolutely no words" to express the impact of the murder on her and their children.

They will miss having their daddy at all the firsts in their lives, such as communions and confirmations.

A statement from Det Gda Donohoe's parents Hugh and Peggy Donohoe was read to the court by his father.

He struggled to fight back tears as he paid tribute to his son.

"He brought so much joy to our lives. He never forgot his mother's birthday or Mother's Day. He was as good a son as you could ask for. We miss him every day," he said.

He said his son would like to surprise them, including by bringing his sibling home from abroad for a surprise 60th.

"He loved to organise surprises for us, bringing home his brother from abroad to surprise his mother on her 60th birthday.

"He always wanted the best for us and looked to make our lives easier at every opportunity," he said.

"It's hard to accept that such a good man would come across such evil on that cold wet night.

"From that day forward, it's impossible to find joy in life."

He said some days were so hard and life is such a struggle.

"We visit his grave every week, which gives us some comfort, but it's no place for him, he should be here with us living his life," he said.

"Adrian is such a loss to us, when we gather as a family there is such a big presence missing, he lived for family gatherings and happy occasions.

Comfort

"The milestones he misses in his children's lives, it breaks our hearts. It's such a struggle to get through life and no time will ever change that."

He said he wanted to thank the garda investigating team and the legal team for their hard work.

"It will not bring Adrian back but will give us some comfort," he said.

"Life was so unfair to him, such a good man deserved to live a full life to old age and not to be shot down in such a brutal way.

"He loved the guards but looked forward to his retirement, but he never got the chance to retire," he added.

A statement was read by his sister Mary Donohoe on behalf of their siblings, Alan, Colm Martin and Anne.

"Adrian was a huge child at heart, he loved children and gravitated towards them.

"We are angry and bereft that he has missed out on knowing so many nieces and nephews that were born after he died.

"He made a huge impact on my younger brother and sister, Martin and Anne.

"There was an age gap of 10 and 12 years and they idolised their big brother.

"Anne's everlasting memory of Adrian was someone who believed in her, even when she didn't believe in herself and he helped encourage her to reach her potential," she said.

The court heard from Det Gda Donohoe's partner on the night, Det Gda Joe Ryan, about the devastating impact the murder had on him and his career.

Two of the four raiders had pointed a gun at the garda and threatened to kill him.

"I had no doubt they were going to kill me," his statement read to the court said.

He got vivid flashbacks of the night, couldn't sleep and was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that ultimately forced him to retire 10 years early from An Garda Síochána.

"The incident was the most horrific thing imaginable and dramatically changed my life forever," he said.

"Straight away after the shooting I was in a complete state of shock and anxiety.

"At first I just wanted to be at work every possible minute to assist the enquiry team in any way I could to identify and arrest Adrian's murderers.

Fashbacks

"The symptoms of high anxiety, not sleeping or continuously waking up with flashbacks, high blood pressure and hyper sensitivity quickly became too much to manage and I was deemed unfit for duty."

He said he was referred to a psychiatrist named Dr Abbey Lane who he saw a few weeks after the incident.

"She informed me that the symptoms described earlier, which also included hypersensitivity, fear of loud noises, mood swings and sensitivity to spatial awareness of people were typical of a PTSD condition."

He now lives in Spain where he finds it easier to manage.

"Since I was a young lad I only wanted to work as a member of An Garda Síochána.

"You always accept the risk that comes with policing but never in your wildest dreams can you imagine to have experienced a friend and colleague being murdered in cold blood alongside you.

"I feel I will always experience flashbacks and always feel guilty.

"I think regularly about Adrian's wife Caroline and the children - that they have to live with the pain of not having a life with him, and will always feel guilty that it was him and not me," he added.