Patricia O’Connor trial: ‘Justice has been served’, sisters say

Keith Johnson (43) found guilty of helping murderer buy tools

Patricia O’Connor’s sisters Rita Slevin,Valerie Slevin and Anne O’Sullivan pictured leaving the murder trial on Friday after the jury returned its final verdict.  Photograph: Collins Courts

Patricia O’Connor’s sisters Rita Slevin,Valerie Slevin and Anne O’Sullivan pictured leaving the murder trial on Friday after the jury returned its final verdict. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

The sisters of Dublin grandmother Patricia O’Connor’s said “justice has been served” at the conclusion on Friday of the seven-week trial into her murder.

In a written statement after the jury delivered its final verdict in the trial, convicting a “trusted member” of Mrs O’Connor’s extended family for his role in the crime, Rita Slevin, Valerie Slevin and Anne O’Sullivan, said their sister Patricia was the “most kind, caring and loving grandmother, sister and mother.

“She was a hard working woman who loved to share her care and kindness with all.”

Mrs O’Connor’s siblings said they apologised to the people who found the first body parts of their sister Patricia in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. “We are so sorry you had to endure part of our pain and we thank you for cooperating and helping the gardaí­ in every way you could.”

They wished to thank “all the legal teams and witnesses, gardaí, army and civil defence”, adding: “We thank you for all your help and participation, we can’t thank you enough.”

The daughter-in-law of Patricia O’Connor, Martina O’Connor, also said the outcome of the trial was “a relief and we hope the sentences reflect the crime”.

Martina O’Connor is the wife of the deceased’s son, Richard O’Connor, who gave evidence during the trial.

Keith Johnston (43) was on Friday found guilty of impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Kieran Greene (35), knowing or believing him to have murdered Mrs O’Connor (61) on May 29th, 2017.

Keith Johnston (43), of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pictured during the trial. Photograph: Collins
Keith Johnston (43), of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pictured during the trial. Photograph: Collins

Johnston had denied assisting Greene in the purchase of various implements at Woodie’s, Mr Price, B&Q and Shoe Zone, Tallaght, Dublin 24 on June 9th, 2017, which were to be used in the concealment of the remains.

Greene was on Tuesday found guilty of murdering the retired hospital worker and inflicting “catastrophic injuries” on her in an attack in the bathroom of her home.

Mrs O’Connor’s daughter Louise O’Connor (41) and granddaughter Stephanie O’Connor (22) were found guilty of impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Greene.

Johnston of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght, Dublin 24 is the ex-partner of Louise O’Connor and is father to two of her five children, including Stephanie O’Connor.

The jury took more than 12 hours over four days of deliberations to come to their fourth unanimous verdict in the case.

Difficult case

Following the final verdict, Mr Justice Paul McDermott thanked the jury members for their dedication to this “long and difficult” case and exempted them from jury service for the rest of their lives.

Johnston was remanded on continuing bail until April 20th, when he will be sentenced along with Stephanie O’Connor, Louise O’Connor and Patricia’s husband Augustine ‘Gus’ O’Connor. Greene will receive the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on that date.

The jury heard during the case that Gus O’Connor was originally part of the trial but pleaded guilty to reporting his wife as a missing person to gardaí at Rathfarnham on June 1st, 2017, knowing she was already dead.

The trial heard the body of Mrs O’Connor, of Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, was dismembered into parts that were found at nine locations in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains between June 10th and 14th, 2017. Former deputy State pathologist Dr Michael Curtis gave evidence that her head was struck a minimum of three blows with a solid implement and the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Charge withdrawn

Johnston had a charge of refurbishing the bathroom in order to destroy or conceal evidence withdrawn by direction of the trial judge Mr Justice McDermott.

He told gardaí in his voluntary statement that he had a “nagging thought” that he could potentially be cleaning up a crime scene when he was doing work in the bathroom of Mrs O’Connor’s home in the days after she went missing.

The prosecution said this was important because it preceded the shopping trip that he went on with Greene.

“I know it looks bad but that’s just the way it is,” he told gardaí of the work, adding that he had only replaced three tiles in the bathroom.