Two jailed for shotgun killing of street entertainer

TWO Wicklow men have been found guilty of shooting dead a French street entertainer at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed mandatory life imprisonment terms on Declan Sheridan, 24, and James O’Connor, 28, after a jury found them guilty of the murder of Charles Sinapayen.

Sheridan, of Sea Road, Kilcoole, and O’Connor, of Kilbridge Grove in Bray, had both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Sinapayen at Richmond Hill, Bray, in May 2009.

The 33-year-old musician and juggler, who had lived in Bray for several years and was known to many in the town, was shot through a bedroom window in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Mary Kinlan.

He sustained a gunshot wound to the face that lacerated his brain and fractured his skull. He died two days later in Beaumont Hospital.

Counsel for the state, Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC, told the jury during the trial that the motive for the “brutal” and “callous” murder of Charles Sinapayen was unclear.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Sinapayen’s mother Marie Claire described Charles as a “maverick, non-conformist and happy-go-lucky” person who was nice to everybody he met and liked to make people laugh.

Mr Sinapayen’s brother Julian said he felt a “surge of anger” towards his brother’s killers and although he wanted justice, he did not know if it would bring him peace.

The state argued that O’Connor and Sheridan went to the apartment in the early hours of May 29, 2009, where they fired two blasts from a shotgun through the window.

It was the prosecution case that the accused men were then driven to a local cemetery where they disposed of the shotgun, cartridges, clothes and shoes.

The jury heard evidence from key prosecution witness Keith Lowe, who said he drove O’Connor and a second man to Richmond Hill on the evening in question.

Evidence was also before the court that DNA matching that of Declan Sheridan was present on a shotgun cartridge and a Puma tracksuit top recovered by gardaí in a cemetery close to the scene of the shooting.

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