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'We'll never forgive him': Former British Army soldier jailed for life for Dublin chip shop murder

66-year-old Donal Colgan was convicted today at his second trial for the murder of David Sheridan in August 2014.

SCC R Woffenden 3 Source: Richard Woffenden

A FORMER BRITISH Army soldier was today found guilty of murder for stabbing a man to death outside a chip shop.

66-year-old Donal Colgan formerly of Killarney St, Dublin 1, had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of 44-year-old David Sheridan who died after Colgan stabbed him outside Luigi’s takeaway on Dublin’s North Strand Road on 17 August 2014.

In a statement made outside the court Sheridan’s family said: “We’re happy with the verdict but it does not bring David back. He will be missed terribly and we all love him.”

The defence had argued that Colgan lost all self control when David Sheridan struck him on the head with a bag of cans. The prosecution said that Colgan attacked the deceased out of anger following an altercation seven minutes earlier outside the chip shop.

The jury reached their unanimous decision following five days of evidence and six hours and 44 minutes of deliberation.

Justice Tony Hunt thanked the eight women and three men, saying they had discharged a “very difficult task”. He excused them from further service for ten years.

‘Didn’t deserve to die’

In a statement read to the court by Garda Ronan Hobbs, Sheridan’s son Jake Fay said his dad was “not perfect he but did his best” and he didn’t deserve to die in the way he did.

He said his memories of his dad are of going to matches, cooking and watching television together and added that he will never forgive Donal Colgan.

Garda Hobbs told prosecuting counsel Paul Burns SC that Colgan had two previous convictions, one for assault and one under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the State Act.

Justice Hunt said he had the “sad and grim duty” of sentencing Colgan to life. He said it is sometimes satisfying to send a person to prison but this was not one of those occasions.

While saying he could find no fault with the jury’s decision, he said he is sure that Colgan did not go out that evening with any intention of doing what he did and that if he could turn back the clock he would.

He also offered his condolences to Sheridan’s family and said it was clear the deceased was a “nice man” who did not deserve to die in such a “cruel” way.

Justice Hunt also called on the legislature to look at the defence of provocation that was used by Colgan, particularly in cases where an accused person brings an offensive weapon “into play”.

After speaking with and hugging members of his family, Colgan was lead away to begin his life sentence.

This was the second time Colgan went on trial for Sheridan’s murder.

His first trial collapsed when the jury discovered a gap in the CCTV footage from when Colgan left the chip shop to when the fatal stabbing happened.

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Eoin Reynolds

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