herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Brothers' tears as they get life for 'barbaric' murder of home attack gunman

Jason Bradley, left, and Dean Bradley were jailed for life for the ‘savage, barbaric and brutal’ murder
Jason Bradley, left, and Dean Bradley were jailed for life for the ‘savage, barbaric and brutal’ murder
Ryan Bradley
Neil Reilly
Dean Reilly, the son of murder victim Neil Reilly

Two Dublin brothers wept as they were sentenced to life in prison yesterday for the "savage, barbaric and brutal" murder of a gunman who shot at their home.

A third brother, who was acquitted of murder but pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation of a crime, will be sentenced later.

Jason Bradley (20) and Dean Bradley (24), of Liscarne Gardens, Clondalkin, were found guilty last week of murdering Neil Reilly (36) at Esker Glebe, Lucan, on January 18 last year.

Ryan Bradley (18) pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation into Reilly's death.

The boys' father, Paul Bradley, was found not guilty of murder.

During the trial, it emerged that Jason Bradley inflicted seven chop wounds with a sharp weapon on Reilly before Dean Bradley drove over him.

At a sentence hearing in the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Paul Coffey jailed the pair for life.

He had earlier heard from Michael Bowman SC, on their behalf, who said both wished to apologise for what happened to Reilly.

Mr Bowman said the boys' mother had also written a letter to the court, apologising to Reilly's family for their pain and loss.

Reilly's family wrote an impact statement, which was read by prosecuting counsel Paul Murray.

They said they were left "frozen and in total disbelief" when Reilly's son Dean rang his grandmother Marian and told her: "Neil is dead, the Bradleys killed him."

His two children would grow up without their father at the important moments in their lives, the statement added.

They thought of him every day and were "serving a life sentence of our own".

Reilly got engaged on Christmas morning, less than a month before his "savage, barbaric, brutal murder".

On the day she was due to hold their engagement party, Reilly's fiancee attended his funeral. His death has left her broken, the court heard.

Courageous

The family said the price for murder was a life sentence and they prayed that verdicts such as these would lessen the murder rate in Ireland.

They went on to thank gardai, their friends and neighbours, the jury and the "courageous, brave witnesses" who gave evidence in the trial.

Speaking on behalf of Ryan Bradley, Caroline Biggs SC told Mr Justice Coffey that he was a hard-working man who was a vital part of his father's mechanic business.

Throughout the trial, she said, he would attend court and then go to work.

Ms Biggs said he was 17 at the time, and if he had been charged with impeding an investigation rather than murder he probably would have been dealt with as a minor.

She told Justice Coffey that Ryan was not involved in any way in the feud with Reilly. There was no evidence he would likely offend again and he had no previous convictions.

The court heard that Ryan impeded the investigation by assisting his brother Dean in exchanging a car that Dean had used to drive over Reilly.

He also lied to gardai in a voluntary statement he gave on the day, in which he denied any knowledge of what had happened to Reilly.

Justice Coffey remanded him on bail until July 31 for sentencing.

The court heard that the Bradleys got to know Reilly through his son, Dean.

Dean became best friends with Ryan and Jason, and when his father went to prison for drug dealing, Dean became a regular visitor to the Bradley household.

When his father was about to get out of prison, Dean asked Paul Bradley if he would give his dad a job at the Bradley garage.

Paul agreed, and Reilly worked as a mechanic for him for a short time. However, according to Dean's evidence, Jason amassed a debt of €9,000 to Reilly for what the witness said could have been a drug debt.

On one occasion Neil Reilly called at the hotel where Jason worked "to put a word on him", in Dean's words.

In December 2016, Reilly broke into the Bradley home armed with a pair of garden shears.

CCTV cameras inside the house showed him entering with two other men and going upstairs where he switched the CCTV system off. They ransacked the house and stole Paul Bradley's passport.

Accomplice

That was about one month before Neil Reilly carried out his attack on the Bradley home.

He drove to Liscarne Gardens in a white van followed by an accomplice in a Mazda and fired two shots that hit the house, smashing a front window.

Reilly drove off in the van, and after a short distance he abandoned it, threw the gun over a wall and got into the Mazda.

Meanwhile, Dean Bradley was driving around the area in his BMW with Ryan as his passenger. Paul Bradley was in his SUV with Jason.

After some minutes, CCTV shows that Paul Bradley had turned towards home and called gardai to report that shots had been fired at his house.

By chance, at that moment he passed the Mazda.

Jason recognised the driver and can be heard on the 999 call telling his dad: "Go after them in that car."

CCTV footage showed Paul Bradley's jeep chasing the Mazda at speed towards Esker Glebe where, Paul Bradley revealed during the trial, the Mazda crashed.

The Bradley jeep crashed into the now stationary Mazda.

Both Jason and Paul got out, while Reilly's accomplice escaped on foot.

Reilly and Jason fought. In the struggle, Jason suffered a deep cut to his hand.

However, he overpowered Reilly and used a sharp weapon to beat him to death. Two blows to his head caused skull fractures and lacerations to the brain.

A pathologist would later find seven chop wounds in total, all of them potentially fatal.

As Reilly lay in the road, Dean Bradley's BMW arrived on the scene. He drove over Reilly, causing crush injuries to the pelvis that the pathologist said could have been fatal on their own.

While Dean claimed this was an accident, caused by his poor eyesight, two witnesses saw him drive over Reilly twice, while another said she saw the car go over him three times.

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