A man who stole a car, before killing its owner by throwing him from the bonnet as he was driving off, has been jailed for nine and a half years.
Adam Murphy (22), of Cherry Orchard Crescent, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ian McDonnell on January 23rd, 2022.
He further pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to take a vehicle, three counts of stealing three vehicles, one count of attempting to steal property from a vehicle and one count of stealing a push bike at various locations throughout Dublin on the same date.
His co-accused, Keith McCormick Smith (22), of Riverview, Church Road, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to take a vehicle, three counts of stealing three vehicles, one count of attempting to steal property from a vehicle and one count of stealing a push bike at various locations in Dublin on January 23rd, 2022.
He further pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen property, in the form of a car key, at his address on February 8th, 2022.
The two men had been committing a “spree” of crimes, where they were robbing cars and planning to sell them. Murphy had stolen Mr McDonnell’s car while he was at his business, Ozone Car Sales, on Robinhood Road, Dublin 22, before driving off with the owner on the bonnet.
Mr McDonnell was thrown from the bonnet of the car and on to the roadway. He died shortly afterwards at Tallaght Hospital.
Sentencing the men on Monday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Dara Hayes said Ian McDonnell had been “callously killed by Adam Murphy” which he described as “devastation visited upon this family in such a senseless way”.
The judge said the two men “left Mr McDonnell dying on the roadway as they fled to continue their spree of thefts” which had been done “for the sake of whatever sum of money he hoped to get for a six-year-old family car”.
Murphy, who has 27 previous District Court convictions, was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, but Judge Hayes suspended the final two and a half years on strict conditions in order to incentivise rehabilitation.
Judge Hayes said that although McCormick Smith had not been charged with manslaughter, he was “involved in a chain of events that led to the death of an innocent man”.
He sentenced McCormick Smith, who has 16 previous District Court convictions, to three years and two months’ imprisonment, but suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions.
Murphy was disqualified from driving for 12 years and McCormick Smith was disqualified for seven years.
At an earlier sentence hearing, members of Mr McDonnell’s family made victim impact statements.
Prosecuting barrister David Perry, BL, read a statement on behalf of Mr McDonnell’s 18-year-old daughter Clodagh.
She described having to do her Leaving Cert and said, “Dad gave me the strength I needed”.
“He will never get to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, and he will never get to meet my children,” she said.
Mr McDonnell’s wife, Monica, read her own statement to the court and said they were “childhood sweethearts”.
She described how becoming a father was the “proudest day of his life” and that “his greatest passion was his family.”
“ ... I think of the fear that he must have had on the bonnet of our car, lying on the road in pain,” she said, adding, “I miss him so much”.