A man who carried out the brutal machete murder of dad-of-three from Gainsborough was jailed for a minimum of 28 years on Friday.
Kieran Walker, 23, from Doncaster, attacked Jordan O’Brien, 25, in Scampton Way in Gainsborough on March 27 with such force that he almost severed one leg and left the other leg so badly damaged it had to be amputated at the knee. He later died in hospital.
Walker had denied the killing but destroyed his own carefully constructed defence when he blurted out from the witness box during his trial last month that he was the attacker.
A jury at Lincoln Crown Court convicted Walker of murder after hearing that Jordan’s dying words were to identify him as the man who carried out the attack.
At the time of the murder Jordan was due to marry his fiancee Darcie Mae Andrews, who was 17 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child.
The child was born just three weeks ago and named Jordan after his father. The couple’s eldest son, Frankie Jack, was just one when his father was killed.
In a moving impact statement which was read out in court Darcie Mae said: “My whole life is in ruins and I am just 20 years old.
“Frankie Jack will never see his dad again. My three week old newborn son will never meet his dad.”
Passing a life sentence with a minimum term of 28 years, Judge John Pini QC told Walker he was a “determined and feared drug enforcer” and described the machete as a “fiercesome weapon.”
Judge Pini said: “Jordan O’Brien was brutally attacked by you at his home. You attacked him with a machete, striking him four or five blows to his legs.
“You did so in front of his 17-year-old younger brother.”
The judge added: “You are a callous, self centered thug and bully. The loss of Jordan has had a devastating effect on all his family. He had three children who will never see their father.”
Walker initially claimed he was not present at the scene of the murder outside the home of Jordan’s mother in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, and hid his mobile phone.
However, in a phone call from prison while on remand he let slip where his mobile phone could be found. Police went to the site and recovered the phone and were then able to prove he was at the murder scene by using mobile phone records.
Walker then changed his defence and claimed he drove the killer to the scene not realising the savage attack was going to take place.
He gave a detailed account from the witness box of how he remained in the car and insisted he was innocent of murder until he let slip what really happened.
During cross-examination from prosecutor Katherine Goddard QC, Walker was asked whether Jordan had said anything during the attack.
Walker replied: “Just the screaming when I was attacking him”. The response caused gasps in the public gallery.
Walker’s barrister suggested to the jury that the response was a mistake and argued that they should not convict him on “a slip of language”.
Walker of Larch Avenue, Auckley, Doncaster, was found guilty at the end of the two week trial.
The attack, the jury was told, was the culmination of a two year grudge over a £2,000 drug debt.
Miss Goddard said that a stash of amphetamine had been left with Jordan O’Brien for safekeeping but was then lost.
Walker pursued O’Brien for payment and had threatened him on previous occasions before carrying out the attack in March this year outside the home of Jordan’s mother in Scampton Way, Gainsborough.
Walker, who claimed to be a mixed martial arts fighter, admitted he was a drug dealer who enforced payments of debts with violence.
He told the jury that he drove the real killer to the scene but refused to identify him claiming he would suffer reprisals if he did.
Following Walker’s conviction Jordan’s family said: “Jordan was a much-loved son and was one of eight children. He was a devoted dad to his three children and cherished his fiancée Darcie Mae.”
“He had such a happy family life ahead of him. He did everything for his family.
“He was the life and soul of any party or family gathering he attended. Jordan loved dancing and loved to show off his moves.
“His continuous banter kept everyone smiling. He would light up a room.
“Jordan had a beautiful and kind heart. If anyone was ever down or needed anything, he was the first person there for you.
“He enjoyed gardening and spending time with his family, whether it was with his partner and boys, or his mum and siblings.
“The loss of Jordan has left us all absolutely heartbroken. He has been taken from us in the cruellest of ways, something we will all struggle to come to terms with every day.”
Detective Inspector Andy McWatt, investigating officer, said: “I am satisfied that the verdict has brought some justice to Jordan’s family, but of course it will never bring him back. Jordan has been cruelly snatched away from his loved ones by the calculating murder committed by Kieran.
“I cannot imagine what thoughts were going through Walker’s mind when he carried out this attack.
“I cannot thank Jordan’s family enough for their support and the dignity maintained throughout the trial. It has been a very difficult time for them.
“I would also like to highlight the excellent work of the first responding officers, East Midlands Special Operations Unit, the CPS and prosecution counsel. All were committed to getting justice for Jordan and his family.”
A Police spokesman said: “Although Walker has been found guilty of murder, we are still trying to identify the driver of a BMW which was found burnt out in the area, which we believe could be linked to this offence. If you can assist us with this investigation please contact us.”