Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Adrian Donohoe

Adrian Donohoe was murdered by a shotgun blast in 2013 Credit: PA

A Co Armagh man has been sentenced to life in prison for the capital murder of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe. Aaron Brady was also sentenced to 14 years for robbery. Brady, 29, was found guilty in August of murdering Mr Donohoe during the robbery of Lordship Credit Union in Bellurgan, Co Louth, on 25 January 2013. A jury of five men and seven women returned a majority verdict of 11 to one after more than 20 hours of deliberation. It was the longest murder trial in the history of the state. Brady, of New Road, Crossmaglen, had already been found guilty by a unanimous jury decision of the robbery of approximately 7,000 euro (£6,300) in cash and cheques outside the credit union. The victim impact statement of Mr Donohoe's widow Caroline was read out in court. "There are absolutely no words that can adequately express the impact of the events of 25 January 2013 had on my life and the lives of my children and extended family, colleagues and friends and all who loved Adrian," Mrs Donohoe said.

I will never recover fully from what I had to see at Lordship. My heart breaks every time I pass there and sometime I can't get images out of my mind for hours.

Adrian Donohoe's widow

Mrs Donohoe said they were a loving family and nobody would ever replace her husband. "Amy and Niall have missed having their daddy at their communions, confirmations and all the firsts in their young lives," she added. "We had a loving, happy family, everything was just perfect, but in just 58 senseless seconds everything changed forever." Mr Donohoe was the eldest of six children, and sister Mary said she looked up to her big brother "in every sense of the word".

Adrian's window Caroline Donohoe Credit: PA

She read out a statement in court on behalf of herself and her brothers and sisters. "He was large in stature and large in personality," she said, adding that his "enthusiasm for life was infectious". She said her brother had a "strong sense of duty" and "stood up for what is right". She added that the family had been left "distraught" since his murder, and all they had left now were photos. "I don't think Aaron Brady will ever comprehend what he's done to our family," she told the court. Mr Donohoe, 41, had been on duty in Bellurgan when he was killed with a shotgun blast. The charge of capital murder includes an aggravating factor such as murdering a police officer on duty. Brady fled to the US, via Belfast, months after the murder. The lengthy investigation to bring him to justice involved the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Department of Homeland Security in the US. Four other gang members allegedly involved in the robbery are yet to be brought to justice.