Victims families tell of their continued grief as O’Driscoll is jailed for life
A 36-year-old Dubliner being sentenced to life in prison for a double murder told the judge that the jury got it wrong.
Jason O’Driscoll of Richmond Avenue, Fairview was receiving the mandatory sentence at the Central Criminal Court last Monday, after a jury found him guilty following a trial that ended two months ago.
The jury had used circumstantial evidence to convict him of murdering 31-year-old Anthony Burnett and 25-year-old Joseph Redmond in Co. Louth, where they had gone to sell him a stolen car on March 7th, 2012.
The five women and seven men had reached a majority verdict of ten to two, following more than seven hours considering their verdicts.
On that occasion, O’Driscoll stood up and asked: ‘Guilty of f ***ing what?’ He said there was no evidence, he was guilty of nothing and added: ‘ F***ing crook.’
He was back before the court yesterday for his sentence hearing, at which Alex Owens SC, prosecuting, read out victim impact statements prepared by his victims’ mothers.
Mr Burnett’s mother, Marie Burnett, acknowledged that her ‘ loving, kind-hearted and caring’ son had made some bad decisions in his life.
However, she said he’d paid the price for them and had spent his final years trying to improve and rectify himself.
‘He was my rock, my firstborn and my only son,’ she wrote.
She said her heart had been shattered into a million pieces on the day he was ‘ taken in such an evil and cold-blooded way’.
She said she wasn’t ready to say goodbye when he was killed a week before his birthday.
‘Not only was my son shot, but their bodies were burned so badly that we couldn’t even have an open coffin and say a proper goodbye,’ she recalled.
‘We were robbed of that by a callous, cold-hearted person,’ she continued. ‘ How he sleeps at night, I’ll never know. He not only killed our sons, but he killed a big part of us too. He has ruined so many lives and he has filled us with so much anger and hatred.’
At this point, O’Driscoll interjected and shouted that he was innocent.
However, Mr Owens continued reading the statement, in which Ms Burnett thanked all involved in the case ‘for not giving up on Anthony and Joey and for working long and endless hours over the past six years’ to bring the families justice.
‘Nothing will bring our son home. Our lives will never be the same again,’ she wrote. ‘ We will love and miss him until the day our hearts stop beating.’
Mr Redmond’s mother, Pauline Doran, wrote that her eldest son had been brutally murdered in a most violent manner ‘for being in the wrong place at the wrong time’.
‘My life will never return to normal after the total devastation,’ she wrote. ‘ There are days that I don’t feel able to get out of bed from utter emptiness at Joey’s loss.’
She said that no sentence imposed on the perpetrator would restore peace to her family.
‘I will continue to mourn my son until the day I die,’ she said,
thanking the gardai, the PSNI and the firefighters, who attended the scene.
Mr Justice Michael White then said that the court had a duty to impose the mandatory life sentence.
He said that the two men had been ‘executed in a callous, brutal way’.
He was interrupted by O’Driscoll, who again shouted that he was innocent.
‘I’m innocent, your honour. The jury got wrong,’ he insisted.
Justice White continued, noting that the two victims had received ‘an horrific death without justification’, being executed and burned. He said that no human beings deserved this.
He then imposed the mandatory life sentence on each count, backdated to June 2016 when O’Driscoll was taken into custody.
He paid tribute to ‘ the endless hours of work’ carried out by the
gardai and refused a certificate of leave to appeal.
The victims’ families any comment.
However, retired Detective Inspector Pat Marry, who worked on the case, spoke outside.
He said he hoped that the result would be of some comfort to the victims’ families.
He said that both families were very upset but satisfied.
‘I’m hoping that maybe today they can get some solace and move on with their lives,’ he said. it left without making