“We were deeply hurt by how Patricia’s character was so cruelly tarnished by their spiteful lies. The people who truly knew her, her sisters, brothers, friends, work colleagues, her neighbors, will defend her kind, caring, loving nature, a jolly woman who sang out loud as she went about her day. They can never take those previous memories away from us. We are still trying to come to terms with the brutal and violent way her life came to a very sad end. Trisha we love you always.”
-Collette Barry, Patricia O'Connor's sister
It was the 12th of June 2017. A Monday. A nervous looking thirty year old man, Kieran Greene, went into the police station in Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland. He had some information that he wanted to share with the police. When an officer asked him what he wanted to talk about, he said:
"The stuff up in the mountains was me."
Just two days before, on the 10th of June, a brother and sister who were in the Wicklow Mountains having a picnic found human remains. Christine Murphy and her brother Jonathan Murphy were having a picnic with their family at the Old Bogey beside Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland around 6.20pm on the 10th of June. When they finished their picnic and went back to their cars, they discovered that the window in one of the cars was broken and a handbag was missing. They walked back along the route to see if they could find the handbag. Christine noticed something that she saw earlier when she was walking that same route. When she saw it earlier that evening she thought it was animal remains but she called her brother Jonathan over to take a look. As they looked closer, they believed that they were looking at human remains. A torso. They called the police.
The next day, the 11th of June, it was reported on the news that human remains had been discovered. A man, Noel Ruane, heard the news report and contacted the police. He said that he was with his partner in the area the day before and they walked around the river leading up to Glenmacnass Waterfall. On a rock on the embankment, they believed they saw animal organs but when he heard the news report, he contacted the police and police discovered further human remains.
Just one day later, the 12th of June, Kieran Greene told police that the human remains were those of Patricia O'Connor. But police did not believe him as they believed the remains belonged to a man in his twenties.
It became clear however as they discussed the matter with Kieran that he wanted to get something off of his chest and they were aware that Patricia O'Connor was reported missing on the 1st of June 2017.
Patricia O'Connor was the mother of Kieran's partner, Louise O'Connor. Kieran lived in Patricia's house in Mountainview Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14. He lived there for ten years with his partner of ten years Louise, their three young children, Louise's two older children from a previous relationship and Louise's parents Gus and Patricia.
From Kieran's account of the living arrangements, it was clear that there were a lot of people living in a relatively small house and that in and of itself caused a lot of problems. The house was a four bedroom home but Patricia and her husband Gus slept in separate bedrooms. That left two bedrooms for Kieran, Louise and the five children.
Patricia was a sixty one year old retired Healthcare worker. She was retired for one year and according to Kieran, things in the home were not good. He claimed that Patricia threatened him and the children and there was a lot of shouting and screaming. But he told police that he had "done something terrible" on the 29th of May 2017 and he could not live with the guilt and needed to tell them what had happened. He told police that Patricia was not missing. She was dead.
Police asked him what happened.
Kieran said that on the 29th of May, he was taking a shower in the bathroom at the home in Rathfarnham when Patricia walked into the bathroom.
She was shouting at him saying "Get out, Get out" and hit him with a hurley stick that she found just outside the bathroom.
A Hurley Stick
She hit him with the stick and he hit her back which caused her to fall back. He said that there was blood everywhere in the bathroom. But he claimed that he only hit her in self defense. Patricia wasn't moving so he carried her upstairs into the bedroom. When it was apparent that Patricia was dead, he carried her body back downstairs and put her body in the boot of her own car, a Toyota Corolla. He drove to Wexford and buried her in a shallow grave.
A few days later, he decided that he would have to move Patricia's body as he was afraid a farmer would find the body. So he drove to Wexford and dismembered her body and scattered her body parts in the Wicklow Mountains.
Kieran showed police the shallow grave and identified the locations where he scattered Patricia's body. Patricia's body had been dismembered into 15 separate parts and they were found at nine different locations over a 30km range in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.
He told police that he finally felt free as she had caused him a lot of pain and he was afraid something would happen to his children.
Kieran said that he acted alone. He was charged with the murder of Patricia O'Connor.
Dental records confirmed that the human remains discovered in the Wicklow Mountains were the remains of Patricia O'Connor.
As Kieran awaited his Trial, police began investigating the case. Six months later, Kieran told police that he wanted to tell the truth. He said that his earlier account that he provided to police was not accurate. And he was worried that he had been set up to take the blame for something that he didn't do.
Kieran said that he was in the bathroom on the 29th of May when Patricia entered shouting and she tried to hit him with the hurley stick. They fought over it and he managed to hit her twice with it. Patricia got it back and hit him in the stomach which caused him to fall down. As this was happening, Patricia's husband Gus, entered the bathroom and asked what was happening. She tried to hit Gus but he struck her with a crowbar twice over the head. She feel to the floor.
Gus told Kieran that as he had helped him, he would have to take the rap for it.
Patricia O'Connor and her son Richard
Kieran told police that Louise told him to get rid of Patricia so he put her body in the boot of her car and drove to Wexford where he buried her in a shallow grave. According to Kieran, he asked Louise's former partner, Keith Johnston, for help. Keith is the father of two of Louise's children. Kieran told police that he went to a few different shops with Keith and they bought items including two hacksaws and a hatchet so that they could dismember Patricia's body.
According to Kieran, he then went to Wexford, to the location where he had buried Patricia's body, with Keith and Keith dismembered her body and they scattered the remains in the Wicklow Mountains.
Kieran also told police that there was another person involved in the cover-up of the murder. Stephanie O'Connor. Stephanie's parents are Keith and Louise. According to Kieran, the twenty two year old dressed up as Patricia the night of the 29th of May. She left the house with a suitcase to make it appear that Patricia left the house herself.
It was a stunning revelation. Patricia was murdered in a brutal and barbaric manner but according to Kieran's account, her family helped to cover it up.
Keith Johnston and Stephanie O'Connor
Kieran's murder Trial began. And he wasn't the only one in Court. Keith, Louise and Stephanie were charged with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Kieran, knowing or believing him to have committed the offense of murder. Gus pleaded guilty to reporting his wife as a missing person to police knowing that she was already dead. He was sentenced to eighteen months in prison.
Kieran , Keith, Louise and Stephanie pleaded not guilty.
It was the Prosecution's case that Patricia was subjected to a sustained and violent attack in the bathroom of her own home that lasted up to twenty minutes. They believed that Patricia was murdered between 6.37pm and 6.57pm on the 29th of May 2017.
Former Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, testified that Patricia’s head was struck a minimum of three times with a solid implement. The cause of death was determined as blunt force trauma to the head.
It was the Prosecution's case that the account that Kieran initially provided to police, in June 2017, was closer to the truth and that it was Kieran who had brutally murdered Patricia and then buried her and dismembered her.
They claimed that Kieran only changed the story due to jealousy. When Kieran was in prison awaiting Trial, Louise and Keith began dating again.
Patricia O'Connor's House
The Prosecution entered CCTV Footage into evidence. The CCTV footage was obtained from the house next door to the O'Connor's house. It had a view of their front and back garden. The footage from the 29th of May showed Kieran closing the curtains in the house as Louise, Stephanie and Louise's other children left the house at 6.53pm that evening.
Louise, Stephanie and the children returned at 9.04pm.
At 9.34pm, a female can be seen leaving the home via the front door wearing a coat and a hood and walking quickly down the driveway and carrying a suitcase. The footage also revealed that at 10.05pm, a female with a suitcase walked along the left hand side of the house and entered the house via the back door. It was the Prosecution's case that the female in the footage was Stephanie and it was their case that she left via the front door dressed as Patricia so that they could say Patricia left the house that night with a suitcase. It was their case that Stephanie was not aware that there was CCTV footage of the back door and that was why she returned via that entrance.
Further CCTV footage was shown from a B&Q store on the Belgrade Road in Tallaght, Dublin. It was the Prosecution's case that the two men in the footage were Kieran and Keith and they bought a number of items in the store such as extra strong black refuse sacks, builder's gloves, a saw, two hacksaws and a protection sheet. In another store, they bought some Stanley knife blades and two axes. They claimed that Keith assisted Kieran buying the items knowing that they would be used to dismember Patricia's body.
It was the Defense's case on behalf of Kieran that Kieran lied the first time he went to police and that his second account was the correct one. The Court heard how Kieran was described as a "moron" and that Louise was the one who "wore the trousers in the relationship." It was the Defense's case that Patricia's husband, Gus came into the bathroom after Kieran fell to the ground and struck Patricia twice in the head with a crowbar. Kieran claimed that he just agreed to take the blame for it at the time.
The Defense on behalf of Louise, Stephanie and Keith claimed that they only found out Patricia was murdered two weeks after the fact when Kieran told them. Louise said that on the 29th of May, she left to go to park so that she would not argue with Patricia and she did not go so that Kieran could kill her mother. She claimed that she heard Patricia leave that night and said that the woman leaving via the front door was Patricia. The Prosecution told the Jury that :
“Louise is quite clear that it is her mother leaving the house, there is no equivocation, no ambiguity."
They told the Jury that if they believed the woman on the CCTV footage was in fact Stephanie and not Patricia, then Louise had lied to the police.
Stephanie claimed that she was not the woman leaving via the front door on the CCTV footage. However, she admitted she was the woman recorded going into the house via the back door with a suitcase at 10.05pm.
Keith claimed that he knew something had happened on the 29th of May but didn't know what. He said that he fixed a step and tiles in the bathroom. He admitted he went to the store with Kieran but did not know why Kieran needed the items.
The Jury took a little less than four and a half hours to deliberate. They found Kieran guilty of the murder of Patricia O'Connor. They did not believe that he acted in self defense and they did not believe that Gus hit Patricia with a crowbar or that Keith dismembered Patricia's body. They believed that Kieran murdered Patricia, buried her and then dismembered her body. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Louise O’Connor was found guilty of agreeing to or acquiescing in her daughter Stephanie O’Connor disguising herself as Patricia O’Connor in order to conceal the fact that Patricia was dead. She was sentenced to three years in prison with the last six months suspended.
Stephanie O’Connor was found guilty of disguising herself as Patricia O’Connor at a point in time after her murder in order to conceal the fact that she was already dead. She was sentenced to two years in prison, with the final six months suspended.
Keith Johnston was found guilty of assisting Kieran in the purchase of various products which were used in the concealment of the remains of Patricia. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Richard O'Connor, Patricia's son, addressed the Court at the sentencing hearing. Richard did not live with Patricia and Gus and had no involvement in his mother's horrific murder and the cover up that followed. He said:
“Devastated, heartbroken and deceived, there are only a few words to describe how I’ve felt about the murder of my mum since the 29 May 2017. My ability to have trust in people has changed. To process the amount of lies told to me by those who were my close family has led to many sleepless nights. The constant questions I ask myself, could I have prevented this? Why didn’t I see the deceit around me? How could people I called family do such an unspeakable act?”
Richard went on to say that throughout the Trial his mother was portrayed in a:
“despicable way, trying to make out that she was a horrible person which I, her family and friends knew she was not.”
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