Man (22) sentenced to life for brutal murder

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Twenty two-year-old Conor McClelland has been sentenced to life after he was found guilty of the murder in 2011 of Gavin O’Connor from Kilmainham Wood in Co Meath.

A jury found McClelland guilty after just two and half hours of deliberations.

Over the course of the previous two and half weeks the court had heard how McClelland had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm of the young musician after a drink fueled night out in Carrickmacross.

Gavin O’Connor gone to sleep in the back of his car on the night of June 4, 2011. He awoke to find McClelland driving his car away from Carrickmacross in the direction of McClelland’s home.

The car was stopped at Lisdoonan where McClelland struck Mr O’Connor with a rock after his victim had gotten out of the vehicle. McClelland then got back into the car, and instead of driving off, drove the car at Mr O’Connor causing the injuries that took his life.

McClelland has said that he did this to make it look like a ‘hit-and-run’ incident.

O’Connor’s body was found at 5.30am and brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, where he was pronounced dead that evening.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy told the court his death was due to injuries to the head and brain caused by vehicular impact.

After sentencing, an aunt of Mr O’Connor, Liz Penman, read out a lengthy victim impact report compiled by Gavin’s sister Judith, outlining how his death had left the family suffering from post traumatic stress.

She said how violent scenes on film or TV remind Mr O’Connor’s parents of his bloody and bludgeoned body with a plastic face in his coffin. She also described how as a nurse in Australia, she now cannot bear working in A&E or other trauma centres because of the death her brother had suffered.


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