No motive for 'senseless murder' of young man in Enfield, inquest hears

No motive was ever established for the murder of a 19-year-old man in Co Meath two years ago, an inquest has been told.

Conor O’Brien, originally from Gorey, Co Wexford was found lying on the driveway at the rear of an address on Trim Road, Enfield at 7am on 27th August 2021. A 51-year-old man was convicted of his murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

At an inquest conducted by Coroner for Meath, Nathaniel Lacy at Trim Courthouse into the death of Mr O’Brien Detective Sergeant Lee Gavin said that on 27th August at 6.55am the body of Mr O’Brien was found lying on the ground outside his residence by his cousin. He was wearing a dressing gown and runners. Emergency services and Gardai were called and Mr Edward O’Brien identified the body of his son to Garda Henry Clifford.

An incident room had been set up at Trim Garda station and Detective Inspector Michael Durrigan was appointed senior investigating officer and Detective Sergeant Gavin was appointed investigating member. State pathologist Dr Lindas Mulligan attended the scene of the incident.

It was confirmed that the deceased received one single gunshot wound to the chest that resulted in his death. Gardai found a single discharged cartridge from a 9mm Luger gun.

Sergeant Gavin said that the Garda investigating team discovered that on the evening of 26th August, 2021, Mr O’Brien had ordered a pizza from a local takeaway premises, providing his telephone number so that the delivery person could ring in advance and not knock on the door of his house. His last contact with anyone he knew was to his cousin to tell her that he had ordered a pizza. Gardai established that the delivery vehicle was driven by 51-year-old Earl McKevitt. Some witnesses said they had seen a male making a delivery and also hearing a loud bang “like a firework going off”.

On 28th August Earl McKevitt had made a voluntary statement at Trim Garda station in which he said that he had made the delivery to Mr O’Brien “as normal” and that nothing untoward had occurred.

On 31st August, 2021, Detective Garda Ian Roche of Carlow Garda station had arrested Earl McKevitt at the Talbot Hotel, Carlow following reports that he had shown staff there a firearm. A struggle had ensued between Earl McKevitt and Gardai and a handgun had been found on his person. The gun was later tested and found to be the weapon used in the killing of Mr O’Brien. On 3rd March, 2023, Earl McKevitt had been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder.

Detective Sergeant Gavin said Gardai were satisfied that Mr O’Brien and Earl McKevitt were unknown to each other and a motive for this “senseless murder” had never been established.

Inspector Michael O’Keeffe read a deposition of Mr Ed O’Brien, father of the deceased, who gave evidence of having identified his son.

Pathologist Professor Muna Sabah read out a summary of a post mortem carried out by Dr Mulligan in which she stated that a bullet had entered at Mr O’Brien’s chest and exited his back. A toxicology report had shown no alcohol or drugs in Mr O’Brien’s system. On the recommendation of the coroner a jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing.