Two men jailed for life for murdering dissident republican

Wife of victim Peter Butterly said her husband had ‘absolutely adored’ their children

Two Dublin men convicted of murdering dissident republican Peter Butterly have been jailed for life.

Mr Butterly (35) was shot dead on March 6th, 2013 outside The Huntsman Inn, Gormanston, Co Meath in what the Special Criminal Court described Friday as “premeditated slaughter”.

Last month, the court found both Edward McGrath (35), of Land Dale Lawns, Springfield, Tallaght and Sharif Kelly (47), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan guilty of the murder.

McGrath was also found guilty of firearms offences dating from the same occasion. He was sentenced to seven years for each of the offences.


A third man, Dean Evans (24) of Grange Park Rise, Raheny, Dublin had failed to turn up for the trial, and was not located by gardaí.

The non-jury court proceeded with the trial of his two co-accused in Mr Evans’ absence.

A victim impact statement from Eithne Butterly, wife of the victim, was read to the court Friday morning.

She said that her husband had “absolutely adored” their children.

“He got great pleasure from teaching them how to tie their shoelaces and playing football,” she said.

The court heard that Peter and his youngest son had a great relationship.

“Your cowardly decision and action has shattered our lives forever,” Ms Butterly said.

Describing the day she had to tell her son that his father had been killed, she said his scream was a sound she would never forget.

During the 31-day trial, the court heard evidence that the car used in the shooting, a stolen silver Toyota Corolla, was being watched by members of the National Surveillance Unit.

Gardaí observed the Corolla drive past the Huntsman Inn before making a U-turn and returning to the pub, entering its carpark.

The driver, McGrath, was wearing a black wig. The gunman was “crouched” in the back seat, behind McGrath. The window was rolled down.

The court heard that Kelly was waiting nearby with the getaway car.

The gunman fired two shots at Mr Butterly’s car. One struck the bonnet and the other hit the windscreen. Mr Butterly ran from the car, pursued by the gunman. The gunman fired a number of shots, killing Mr Butterly.

Sentencing the men, Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, said that a “surprising aspect” of the case was that two men who had been “making positive contributions in other areas of life became involved in the premeditated slaughter of somebody else”.

He said it was “really surprising and distressing to see people involved in a pre-planned, callous and deliberate murder”.