A convicted killer has been jailed for life for beating dissident republican Larry "Bomber" Keane to death in a lane-way after what was his second murder trial.
Seamus Morgan, 49, with an address at The Hollands, Athy, Co Kildare was charged with murdering Laurence Keane, 56, in the town on July 19, 2013.
Last week at the Central Criminal Court Mr Morgan pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Keane.
Today a jury of three men and nine women found Morgan guilty by unanimous verdict of murdering Mr Keane in Athy over two years ago. They had deliberated for a period of three hours and six minutes.
Morgan was sentenced to eight years in July 2005 after a jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of the manslaughter of 29-year-old James Hand, who was stabbed to death outside a Dublin pub.
He had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Hand, of Mountjoy Square, Dublin 7, on or between August 22 and September 5, 2002, at The Meeting Point pub on Dorset Street Upper.
In 1998 Keane himself pleaded guilty to having 980lb of an explosive mixture and devices, with the intent to endanger life or enable another to do so, at Dun Laoghaire port on April 2 of the same year. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail but the term was reduced to 10 on appeal.
The court heard that the explosives were twice the size of the bomb used by the Real IRA in Omagh in 1998. Gardaí believed that the likely target of the Real IRA was the Aintree Grand National.
Mr Justice Robert Eagar thanked the jury for "the clarity of their concentration in the case" and the amount of "thought" they had given to it.
Mr Justice Eagar then exempted them from jury service for a period of four years.
Counsel for the State Mr Tom O'Connell SC then called Detective Sergeant Sean Boland from Newbridge Garda Station to take the stand and asked him to tell the court about Morgan's age, background and previous employment.
“He is 49 years of age, a single man who is originally from the Athy area of Co Kildare and lived for a period of time in Dublin,” said Detective Sergeant Boland.
The court heard Morgan has two daughters from a previous relationship.
“He is unemployed and did at some stage in the past work as a chef. Around the time of this incident he was unemployed and living on his own,” said Detective Sergeant Boland.
The court heard Morgan has been in custody since April 23, 2014 and has eight previous convictions ranging in date from May 1991 up to and including July 2005.
“Most of them are related to public order issues but the most relevant one from July 04 2005 was when he was tried for murder at the Central Criminal Court but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison in Mountjoy.”
Mr Justice Eagar then sentenced Morgan to life imprisonment and backdated it to April 23 2014.
Prosecution counsel Mr Tom O’Connell SC read a Victim Impact Statement to the court on behalf of the Keane family.
“Little did we know on the morning of July 18, 2013 as day turned into night how our lives would change forever. This is a day in our lives we will never forget,” read counsel.
The court heard “Larry” Keane was "a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle and a friend to many people.”
Counsel read that Mr Keane was “always in good humour, talkative and an outgoing man” but he was also a “vulnerable, frail and disabled man” who was “helpless without the aid of his walking stick.”
“Larry lost his life in the most traumatic way, not far from the home he shared with his son Laurence, we will never know what his last words or thoughts were,” read counsel.
The court heard there was now “a void” in the family’s lives “that can never be filled.”
“It is a nightmare what we will never be able to wake up from. Our life sentence began on that 18th day of July 2013,” read Mr O’Connell.
The court heard the family expect “to see Larry sitting at the foot of the Barrow bridge in his native town of Athy” as they pass “day by day”.
Mr O’Connell then read that the family would like to thank the “person who had the presence of mind to call 999” on the night.