24 January 2006

O'Donoghue jailed for four years

BreakingNews.ie

24/01/2006 - 13:42:57

**Small price to pay for snuffing out the life of a small child, hiding and desecrating his body and lying about everything. In my mind, this was not 'horseplay'; this was murder. O'Donoghue's gullible girlfriend had better take care when he gets out or she will end up the same way.

A 21-year-old student was today sentenced to four years in jail for the manslaughter of Cork schoolboy Robert Holohan.

Wayne O’Donoghue, from Ballyedmond in Midleton, was found guilty last month of unlawfully killing his 11-year-old neighbour.

The youngster disappeared near his home last January.

Eight days later, his body was found dumped 12 miles away following an intensive search of the area.

O’Donoghue had been charged with the murder of Robert Holohan but a jury found him not guilty of that charge, but guilty of manslaughter.

Judge Paul Carney said he was dealing with manslaughter and not the subsequent cover-up.

He said manslaughter had been described as the most elastic of crimes, with penalties ranging from a suspended sentence to life imprisonment.

The medical evidence he had heard during the trial suggested that the injuries to Robert were at the horseplay end of the scale, he added. But he said that, after the death of Robert Holohan, the cover-up by Wayne O’Donoghue was appalling.

“The cover-up caused incredible grief and distress to the Holohan family,” he said.

Judge Carney said it permitted the body of the schoolboy to be mutilated, tied up the services of the State and led to the involvement of the people of Ireland as a whole with the Holohan family.

“It cannot be dismissed as being due to panic by reason of the calculation and deliberation involved,” he said.

Judge Carney said that, while he could not punish O’Donoghue directly for this, it did have an effect on the Holohan family and he would take it into account.

He said he was satisfied that, when O’Donoghue told his father on January 16 last year that he had killed Robert Holohan, that genuine remorse was in play.

He said it was common for families of victims to complain that the life of their family member was only valued in the final sentence given to the accused person.

“Obviously, young Robert’s life was so precious as to be incapable of measurement in such terms. It is absolutely the case that nothing I do in any way is capable of assuaging the Holohans’ grief.”

He announced he was taking into account the effect of the killing on the Holohan family but also the accused’s guilty plea and his previous good character.

“It would be my expectation that he would not reoffend,” Judge Carney said as he sentenced O’Donoghue to four years imprisonment from the day of his arrest last January.

The 21-year-old, who has already served more than a year in custody, displayed no obvious reaction when the sentence was announced, but there was an angry response from the Holohan family.

“You’re a disgrace, boy,” shouted Mark Holohan, Robert’s father, while his mother, Majella, said the family would be appealing the sentence.

One friend of the Holohan family made a threatening gesture towards Rebecca Dennehy, the girlfriend of Wayne O’Donoghue, who then burst into tears.

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