Tserendorj killer shouts ‘f*** off’ after appeal court declines to reduce sentence

Judges found that 17-year-old’s life sentence with 13 year review is appropriate given knife was ‘produced to be used’, not to instil fear

A teenager serving a life sentence with a review after 13 years for murdering Urantsetseg Tserendorj while she walked alone on a deserted Dublin street shouted “f**k off, get me out of this court” on Tuesday when he realised that the Court of Appeal was not going to reduce his detention term.

The 17-year-old, who can’t be named as he is still a minor, also shouted, “f**k off smelly rats” and “smelly kn*****s” as staff from the Oberstown Juvenile Detention Centre ushered him to the cell area. The outburst came as President of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice George Birmingham, was offering his sympathies to the family of Ms Tserendorj. Her husband Ulambayer Surenkhor and other family members have attended all previous court dates but were not present in court on Tuesday.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s proceedings Antonia Boyle, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, revealed that Mr Surenkhor and his family had written a letter asking the court to delay delivery of its judgment until January 20th next year. A junior barrister for the accused told the court that they objected to the delay as it would have “serious ramifications” given that the defendant will have turned 18 by that date.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the letter indicated that the deceased’s family is seeking advice from an “international advocate”. The president said there is “no role” for such an advocate at this stage given that the three-judge court had already deliberated and come to its view. He refused to adjourn the matter.


Ms Justice Tara Burns delivered the judgment, rejecting all grounds of the appeal against the severity of the sentence imposed by Mr Justice Tony Hunt at the Central Criminal Court in February last year. The court had previously rejected the teenager’s appeal against conviction.

The sentence was appealed on the grounds that it was disproportionate and was “insufficiently reflective” of the age of the accused who was 14 at the time of the offence. The teenager’s lawyers also argued that other children convicted of murder had received lower sentences despite having greater moral culpability. They further argued that the judge failed to adequately reflect mitigating circumstances including that the defendant was addicted to drugs and that his intention was to cause serious harm but not to kill Ms Tserendorj.

Ms Justice Burns said that when considering the severity of the life sentence in detention with a 13-year review, it is important to have regard to the nature of the offence. “This was an intended attack, with a knife, on a defenceless woman in a deserted street late at night.” She said that while he may not have intended to kill Ms Tserendorj, “that does not detract from the premeditated intention of the appellant to rob a person utilising a knife.” She noted that there had been a prior encounter with a shopkeeper that day in which the teenager produced the knife and 25 minutes after murdering Ms Tserendorj, the youth again showed the knife to another woman.

She said that during the encounter with Ms Tserendorj, he used the knife, “not for the purpose of instilling fear in the deceased. It is produced to be used on the deceased, as the appellant immediately swiped the knife at her.” The judge noted Ms Tserendorj’s attempts to avoid the knife while her attacker “stabbed the knife at the deceased’s neck”.

“While this was accepted by the sentencing judge to be a fleeting intention to cause serious injury... the appellant clearly intended to use this knife on the deceased to effect a robbery.”

Despite his intoxication, the defendant’s actions showed “clear, intentional, planned behaviour to use a knife to effect a robbery which then developed into a fleeting intention to cause serious injury when he failed to obtain anything from this defenceless woman.” She said the sentencing judge’s categorisation of the offence as “very serious and grave” was not an error.

She said that the appeal court might have imposed a “slightly shorter period of review” but the one imposed by Mr Justice Hunt “lies within the band of what is appropriate” and was not an error in principle.

Ms Justice Burns concluded: “It is now for the appellant to work towards that 13-year review date to establish his rehabilitation and suitability for release.”

Mr Justice Birmingham began to offer his condolences and sympathies to the deceased’s family, despite their absence from court, when the defendant began shouting and demanded to leave the court.

Ms Tserendorj was stabbed in the neck on a walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay in the IFSC, Dublin on January 20th 2021 and was declared dead nine days later on the evening of January 29th. She died from a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by a stab wound that partially severed her carotid artery. Ms Tserendorj, who worked in Dublin’s city centre, had moved to Ireland with her husband and two children approximately 15 years before she was killed.

The streets of Dublin were largely deserted at the time due to Covid restrictions and Ms Tserendorj was walking home from work alone when the teenager approached and asked for money. When she said she did not have any money, he stabbed her. He then cycled away and later attempted to rob another woman.

The accused denied the murder of Ms Tserendorj but pleaded guilty to her manslaughter. He was found guilty of her murder by a jury last year following two trials. The first trial ended with a jury disagreement.

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