Wednesday 19 September 2018

Bernie's killer caught drink-driving while on bail and pregnant

Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Cash, who died ‘alone and unaided’ after being attacked by her cousin, Donna O’Brien
Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Cash, who died ‘alone and unaided’ after being attacked by her cousin, Donna O’Brien

A reckless female criminal, who killed her 20-year-old cousin in a savage attack in a west Dublin house, was convicted of drink-driving, driving under the influence of substances and dangerous driving while heavily pregnant and on bail for the manslaughter offence.

This week, Donna O'Brien (25) sobbed as Judge Melanie Greally described how her cousin Bernadette 'Bernie' Cash "died alone and unaided" after being left in a critical condition following an attack by O'Brien.

She was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for the unlawful killing of her cousin, whose body was discovered lying in a hallway of a house at Blanchardstown the morning after the assault.

O'Brien, of Cherryfield Lawn, Hartstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to manslaughter of Ms Cash at Warrenstown Walk, Blanchardstown, on October 30, 2013.

The Herald can reveal that, after being granted bail in relation to this crime, O'Brien continued to go on a crime spree.

This included a terrifying incident on the M11 motorway near Gorey, Co Wexford, on the night of August 4, 2015, when a heavily pregnant O'Brien was arrested by gardai, who had noticed her driving erratically.


She was given a four-month jail sentence for a wide variety of offences, which included driving without insurance and tax.

It can also be revealed that O'Brien went into hiding after the death of Ms Cash and was warned of an active threat against her life by gardai.

O'Brien stayed in hostels in Dublin's north inner city for a time, but also at other locations in Dublin and Wexford.

During her sentencing hearing this week, O'Brien listened as the court heard that three men who were in the house at the time also left the victim in a critical condition.

These men told gardai afterwards that O'Brien was rowing with the victim over comments O'Brien believed the victim had made about her child.

The court heard that O'Brien repeatedly punched Ms Cash in the face after a verbal row.

Ms Cash was knocked to the ground and witnesses said that O'Brien then kicked her repeatedly in the head and body.

One man told gardai that he grabbed O'Brien to try to pull her away but she broke away and kicked Ms Cash again.

O'Brien admitted punching Ms Cash but denied she ever kicked the victim.

The witness told gardai later that the victim "was not fighting back", was "in a bad way" and that "she was in trouble".

Another man said that her arm began moving and he was worried she was having a fit.

The four others all left the house through a window and went to leave in a car.

One man went back into the house to see if she was moving but then left with the others.

A post-mortem found that Ms Cash suffered brain swelling and died from head injuries.

It also found the possibility of a pre-existing clot.

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