Man jailed for handing over house for 'gruesome' Mulready-Woods murder

The court previously heard Gerard 'Ged' McKenna had "no inkling" what would happen when he "surrendered" his home to an organised criminal group.
Man jailed for handing over house for 'gruesome' Mulready-Woods murder

Alison O'Riordan

A father of eight, who cleaned up and removed blood-stained evidence from his Drogheda home where teenager Keane Mulready-Woods was murdered, has been jailed for four years.

Sentencing Gerard 'Ged' McKenna at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said it was clear there was nothing he could say or do in any way to alleviate "the terrible anguish" suffered by the family of Mr Mulready-Woods as a result of the "vicious and violent manner" of the murder and the "appalling disrespect" shown by the killers in the disposal of the victim's body.

The judge noted it was not suggested that McKenna was present during the "shocking dismemberment of the boy", or that he had taken any preparatory steps or had any foreknowledge of what was going to be done to the victim.

Mr Justice McDermott said the defendant became aware that something had occurred when he walked into the house and was instructed to clean the property.

He added the actions by McKenna of disposing of material evidence was a very serious offence and "a good deal" of the clean-up in the house appeared to have been carried out by the perpetrators of the killing.

"It is clear it was done in somewhat of a crude manner," he added.

'Turning a blind eye'

Mr Justice McDermott said that whilst McKenna had expressed shame and knew the victim since his birth and his family, he did not appear to care at the time as to what was done to the teenager by these people in his family home, but had also not expected him to be murdered.

"Turning a blind eye and assisting criminal gangs is the essential bedrock of their success and this kind of assistance must be discouraged," the judge added.

It was submitted by McKenna's defence counsel during last week's sentence hearing that the 52-year-old defendant had "no inkling" what would happen when he "surrendered" his home to an organised criminal group.

Detective Sergeant Peter Cooney agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that although McKenna knew "something bad" was going to happen when he allowed his house to be used, he did not know the specifics and had not been in the house at the time of the incident.

Evidence was given that a blood-stained ballistic vest belonging to the Drogheda teenager was discovered at a nearby burn site, along with rubber gloves, a box of Swiss Army knives and part of a sofa.

The court also heard last week that a car parked in a laneway at the back of the accused's house contained a blood-stained axe and a bone fragment. The keys to that car, a red Toyota Corolla, were also found in McKenna's house.

Gardaí searched McKenna's house at Rathmullen Park in Drogheda and observed "a strong smell of paint" and "part of the floor" replaced.

'Very significant notoriety'

Mr O'Higgins, for McKenna, told the sentence hearing that the person who ordered McKenna to surrender his house was "a person of very significant notoriety, with a number of murders attributed to him, including that of a close friend".

This person, who has since passed away, "was not easy to say no to and when they tell you to do something you do it," he submitted.

McKenna of Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth pleaded guilty last November to cleaning up and removing evidence from the scene at or near Rathmullan Park, Drogheda in Co Louth, with intent to impede the apprehension or prosecution of a person or persons, knowing or believing that the said person or persons were guilty of the murder of Mr Mulready Woods (17), on a date unknown between January 12th and 14th, 2020, both dates inclusive.

The offence is contrary to section 7(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1997 and the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.

Mr Mulready Woods, from Drogheda, was last seen alive in the town on January 12th, 2020.

The following day, some of the teenager's dismembered body parts were found in a holdall in the Moatview area of Coolock in Dublin.

Two days later, his head, hands and feet were found in a burning car in the Drumcondra area of Dublin.

The court heard that McKenna has 14 previous convictions, which include the sale of drugs, violent disorder, theft and burglary.

McKenna was sentenced to five years and three months in prison with the final 15 months suspended for a period of three years. It was backdated to when he went into custody on May 8th, 2020.

 

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