Family of murdered Darren: ‘It’s hard to look at your child lying on the ground’

The family of Darren Kearns has spoken publicly for the first time about his murder two and a half years ago.

On December 30, 2015, Darren was sitting with his wife, Sharon, in a car outside a restaurant in Dublin when he was shot dead.

On RTÉ’s Crimecall programme last night, Frances Kearns recalled the last time she saw her son.

The last memory I have with him... he was so happy, we were going away, and the next memory I have he was coming home in a box,” she said.

Darren and his wife had been out for dinner at the Rising Phoenix restaurant above Cumiskey’s pub on Blackhorse Avenue, near the Cabra gate of the Phoenix Park.

At around 5.40pm, as they drove out of the car park, their exit was blocked by a silver BMW 5 Series.

A man with a gun approached the couple and fired several shots into their car.

Darren was shot at least five times and pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was not injured in the attack.

His father, Philip, said he shared a strong bond with his son: “People say you can’t be a father and a best friend. We were, and that’s how close we were as a family and a unit.”

Darren’s sister, Martina, said: “This is something you see on a film, not the reality. This shouldn’t be happening to us. He did not deserve that.”

Darren Kearns had served a six-year term in relation to a €1.8m cannabis haul in 2010 and had been released earlier in 2015.

The court had heard he was spending €1,000 a day on cocaine.

He told gardaí he had been forced to transport the drugs to reduce a debt he had by €2,000 — he owed some €180,000 to the drugs gang.

He had no other serious convictions at the time.

On the evening Darren was murdered, his family rushed to the scene of the shooting and it is still very painful for them to recall, especially for Frances.

“Next I hear everyone was roaring that he was gone. It’s very hard to look at your child lying in the cold night... lying on the ground.”

Darren’s death deeply affected his family. His mother said she is still trying to come to terms with it.

I got a lot of love from the short time I had him. A lot of laughter, and sadness as well,” said Frances.

Philip is also struggling to deal with the loss of his son.

“Didn’t I bury two people that day; my son and my best friend. It is like it is a piece of a jigsaw that can’t be replaced.”

He said all they have now are photographs, memories, and a headstone.

Frances made a tearful appeal. “If you know anything, as small as it is, please, please just come forward.”

Philip said: “You shouldn’t have to bury your children. Nothing will ever be the same again.”

Gardaí are appealing directly to those who may have information about Darren’s murder.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimecall on 1800 405060 or Blanchardstown Garda Station on 01 6667000.

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