Second man gets life for murder of father of two

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a father of two in Dublin five years ago.

Second man gets life for murder of father of two

Eugene Cullen, aged 30, of Derry Road, Crumlin had pleaded not guilty to murdering Seamus (Shay) O’Byrne, aged 27, at Tymon Park North, Tallaght, on March 13, 2009.

The Central Criminal Court heard Mr O’Byrne was shot dead by a hooded gunman in front of his girlfriend Sharon Rattigan and his baby outside their home. It also heard Ms Rattigan tackled the assassin and was shot in the leg while seizing the gun from him.

The prosecution alleged that Cullen was not the gunman but one of four men involved in plotting, planning and executing the murder and was guilty by common design.

Cullen is the second person to be convicted for the murder. Garrett O’Brien, of Clover Hill, Bray, Co Wicklow, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 for being the gunman.

A jury took three hours and 41 minutes to reach their unanimous guilty verdict.

Mr Justice Barry White handed down the mandatory life sentence and backdated it to May 8, 2012, for time spent in custody.

Mr Justice White thanked the jury before exempting them from further service for life.

The court heard Cullen was on bail at the time the murder took place.

The court heard he was arrested in Amsterdam in May 2012 and has been in custody ever since.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a robbery carried out in Galway in 2008 in Galway Circuit Court last year.

In a victim impact report read out to the court by the victim’s older sister, Charis O’Byrne, the deceased was described as a popular son and loving father to his son and daughter.

She said he and partner Ms Rattigan had been together in an extremely close relationship for over 10 years.

She had lost a mainstay in her life and was left with a gaping hole since the loss of her partner, the court heard. They lost what was a constant light in their lives.

His son was only 23 months old at the time he lost his father, she said, and he would likely have no memory of him when he grows up.

She said he was exactly like his father was at the age he was now.

Since that night, she said, a light had faded in his daughter. She has not mentioned his name and avoided photographs of her father.

“We hope one day she will regain her spark,” Ms O’Byrne said.

He had only recently taken over a local underage football team and, as a mark of the man, so many teenagers turned out for his funeral and spoke fondly of him.

She said he was missed at all family events and that Christmas was a particularly difficult time.

He was a rock for his brother Robert, she said, who found the trials extremely taxing.

“The result of this trial will not bring Shay back to us,” she said.

She thanked the court on behalf of the family and said they were particularly grateful to the gardaí, their legal team and to the jury for taking time from their own lives.

She said Shay could rest in peace, knowing justice had been served.

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