A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the case of a 34-year-old man accused of the murder of two men who were on their way to sell him a car they had stolen.

Jason O'Driscoll, of Richmond Avenue in Fairview, had pleaded not guilty to murdering 31-year-old Anthony Burnett and 25-year-old Joseph Redmond in Co Louth on 7 March 2012.

The court heard firefighters were called to a burning car in Ravensdale Forest Park shortly before 11pm that night. 

The bodies of the two men were discovered inside with gunshot wounds to their heads.

The jury was told they were on their way to Mr O'Driscoll to sell him a Volkswagen Golf they had stolen in Sandymount in Dublin.

The State claimed Mr O'Driscoll had participated in their assassination.

Prosecuting counsel Alex Owens told the jury the evidence against Mr O'Driscoll was circumstantial but his guilt could be proven through various strands of evidence.

When all the evidence was taken together the only rational conclusion was that he was there on the night and participated in the murders, he said.

He said mobile phone records showed contact between the victims and a phone linked to the accused.

CCTV footage showed a car "escorting" the VW Golf shortly before it was discovered on fire.

He said this car - a Mercedes - could also be linked to the accused. He said the car was captured on CCTV footage in the north later that night and Mr O’Driscoll could be seen getting out of it.

However the defence told the jury there were other possible explanations for the killings and that obvious lines of inquiry had not been pursued.

Senior counsel Sean Guerin said just because an arrangement had been made to meet, that did not mean a meeting actually took place.

He said phone records also showed contact between the victims and another "mystery" phone number that night and this had not been fully investigated.

Both victims had only started hanging around together about a week before they were killed. One was staying away from crime while the other had been informed his life was under threat. He said it was not known by whom or why Mr Redmond's life was under threat.

It was possible one of the victims had betrayed the other and led him to his death but then was also shot.

Mr Guerin said it was no uncommon for innocent bystanders to be shot. He said the two men could easily have been waylaid by someone else while on their way to the north to sell the car and could have been shot by someone else.

After deliberating for almost 12 hours since Tuesday morning, the jury told the trial judge they could not agree on a verdict.

The judge thanked the jury for its service before discharging it.

The case will be mentioned before the court later this month when a date for a retrial may be set.