Gerry and Helena O Connor

Kilmainhamwood murder victim's grave vandalised


The heartbroken father of a Kilmainhamwood man who was brutally murdered at a music festival in 2011 said he was 'horrified' to discover that his son's grave had been vandalised and a number of items stolen from it on Saturday.   

22-year-old Gavin O'Connor was beaten to death with rocks and then run over in his own car after Conor McClelland (22), from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, stole the vehicle while Gavin was asleep in the back seat. McClelland was arrested soon after the attack and charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty at trial but was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Gerry and his wife Helena suffered further devastation when their older son Patrick (33) was killed in a single-vehicle collision, near Kilberry Cross, Navan in 2013 - two years after his brother Gavin was murdered.

The distraught dad described how he felt 'physically sick' when he discovered the cherished grave of his two sons in Kingscourt cemetery had been attacked.


The grave of Gavin and Patrick O' Connor was vandalised at the weekend. 

"We are just absolutely sick. We are devastated. We got a phone call on Saturday to say what had happened. We went straight up to the grave and found insulting graffiti written over the two graves along with some items stolen and others broken. We just broke down in tears.

"The items stolen were found dumped on the side of the road.

"We don't know who would do something so cruel. There were no other graves touched. The grave is kept immaculately, it's all we have left of our two boys. Why would someone want to cause us such pain?

" We visit the graves every Sunday and are sick for the rest of the day. To think that now we might have to visit them every day to make sure they are not targeted again is too much to bear. We need people to know what was done.

Grafitti on grave

Mr O Connor said how he and his wife don't live anymore, they 'just exist.'

"We get up in the morning and just try and get through each day as best we can. When we hear of a death or a murder on the news, it just brings it all back. What can we do, one thing is for certain we don't deserve this. We don't do anything to anybody or say anything to anybody. It's not a nice thing to do to touch anyone's grave, it is the lowest of the low."

Dad Gerry said Gavin was a talented musician who played with local band, Climax. He described how every photograph taken of his son always had him at the centre, smiling. "He was a brilliant guitarist - he just lived for music. In fact, it was his life."

Mr O'Connor said that his son was about to audition for a Rolling Stones tribute band before he died. "I know he would have got it, too," he said.

"The two lads along with their sister Judith (who lives in Australia) were our world. We are not the same people that we once were." 

A Gardai investigation is ongoing.