Man found not guilty of murdering gangland figure Eamon Kelly

Co-accused convicted and will receive life sentence in January

Darren Murphy (51), of Rory O’Connor House, Dublin 1, leaving the Special Criminal Court, during the trial. File photograph: Collins Courts

Darren Murphy (51), of Rory O’Connor House, Dublin 1, leaving the Special Criminal Court, during the trial. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A man has been found not guilty by the non-jury Special Criminal Court of murdering gangland figure Eamon Kelly, who was shot dead as he walked towards his home on the north-side of Dublin on a December afternoon nine years ago.

Delivering judgment on Monday, presiding judge Mr Justice Alexander Owens convicted Mr Kenneth Donohoe’s co-accused Darren Murphy of murdering Kelly but said there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that Mr Donohoe was the driver of the getaway car, that he was in possession of a Glock handgun or that he had some direct role in the murder gang.

Referring to Murphy, the judge said there was only one credible explanation from the evidence, which was that he was part of the common design to murder Kelly and had acted in concert “as the net closed in” on the deceased.

The accused’s role was to act as a “spotter” and he had tipped off his associates to tell them that Kelly was on his way home, he said.

Furthermore, the three-judge court found that Murphy was part of the “murder gang”, that he was driving an Opel car and that he had carried out surveillance on the day of the murder and on previous two days.

Mr Justice Owens said the court could not definitely say that Mr Donohoe was the man in CCTV footage, which related to the driver of a Lexus car, as the footage was of insufficient quality to make an identification.

Mr Donohoe (42), of Hazelgrove, Tallaght, Dublin 24, and Murphy (50), of George’s Place, Dublin 1, had denied the murder of 65-year-old Eamon Kelly at Furry Park Road, Killester, Dublin 5, on December 4th, 2012.

Both men had also pleaded not guilty to the possession of a firearm — a Glock pistol — with intent to endanger life, on the same date and at the same location.

Father-of-nine Kelly was shot four times in the back as he walked towards his home in north Dublin in December of 2012. He was one of the country’s most well-known criminal figures, having been involved in organised crime for more than four decades.

In 2015, Sean Connolly, then aged 35, of Bernard Curtis House, Bluebell, Dublin was jailed for life by the Special Criminal Court for the murder of the veteran criminal.

Murphy was found not guilty of a second charge of possession of a firearm, a Glock pistol, with intent to endanger life, on the same date and at the same location. The three-judge court found that there was insufficient evidence to establish that Murphy was in possession of the firearm.

Mr Justice Owens, sitting with, Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin and Judge Dermot Dempsey found that Murphy was as guilty of the murder as Connolly. The three-judge court will hand down the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment to Murphy on January 17th, 2022 and remanded him in custody until that date.

After the judgment was delivered, defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Donohue, asked for his client to be discharged from the indictment, which the court granted.