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'The justice system is a f***ing joke': Parents react as son's killer jailed for five years

Justice Butler was forced to adjourn the hearing when friends and relatives of the dead man reacted angrily to the sentence.

The scene of the killing.
The scene of the killing.
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE GRIEVING PARENTS of a man stabbed to death during a brawl inside a bed and breakfast branded the justice system a ‘joke’ after their son’s killer was jailed for five years.

Terence ‘Terry” Connors (42) had originally been charged with the murder of Peter Conroy (25), at Palmerstown Lodge B&B, Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 on 9 June, 2015.

His plea of guilty to manslaughter and not guilty to murder was rejected by the State and last December Connors was convicted by a jury of Conroy’s manslaughter after a one-week trial.

Today, at the Central Criminal Court, Connors, of Drumcairn Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin 24, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, with the last two suspended, for killing Conroy.

Speaking outside court, the dead man’s parents, Frank and Marion Conroy, broke down as they criticised the sentence handed down by Justice Paul Butler.

Conroy said: “Peter was a loving son. He was a rock to us. He was a loving father.

He didn’t deserve to be killed the way he was killed. He got no justice. Seven years, with two suspended for another person’s life. Where’s the justice in that? He (Connors) stabbed him four times and he got manslaughter.

Wiping away tears, Mrs Conroy added:

“How can you put a time on a person? Where’s is the justice?

“The justice system is a fucking joke in this country.

In any other country, he’d get more. You get more for robbing that you would for murder. His kids can see him walking around, go visit him. We will never see our son again.

Adjournment

Earlier, Justice Butler was forced to adjourn the hearing when friends and relatives of the dead man reacted angrily when the sentence was delivered.

Gardaí were forced to remove several people from the courtroom after one women shouted: “He (Connors) is laughing in our faces,” and one man rushed at the accused sitting in the dock.

Another woman sitting in the public gallery was heard shouting at Connors: “If he smiles once more, I’ll fucking punch him.”

During his trial, the court was told Connors had believed his children were in danger as the fighting between guests of the B&B and non-residents intensified when he fatally stabbed his victim.

Delivering his sentence, the Justice Butler said that although the accused had returned to the scene of the brawl with a knife and was “seen to make a downwards motion towards the deceased” on CCTV, “the killing lacked the intention of a murder conviction”.

The judge said the accused, whom he described as being from “a travelling background”, had “expressed remorse from the bottom of his heart”.

However, he said the fact that Connors returned to the scene of the fight with a knife had been an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Connors was also sentenced to two months’ jail for assaulting a woman, Elaine Blunt, during the same brawl. The judge suspended this sentence in full.

The manslaughter sentence was backdated to 1 October, 2015.

Evidence

During the one week trial the jury was told that Conroy died after suffering knife injuries to the head and neck. State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said the fatal wound severed a vein causing him to die from bleeding and shock.

CCTV showed a row involving two women and several men that began in the B&B at about 3.30am. Most of those involved, including the accused but not the deceased, had been at a wedding reception in Stillorgan earlier that day.

Connors arrived home shortly after midnight and went to bed but he told gardai that he woke up to hear his children “roaring and shouting” and calling out for him. He said a fight had erupted downstairs and he grabbed a knife before rushing down.

His partner, Brigid Connors, was involved in a fight with Elaine Blunt on the ground floor when Connors came downstairs. He kicked Ms Blunt and was found guilty of assault for this.

The fight between the two women continued with one man trying to separate them. He opened the front door of the B&B to put them outside and a group of other men entered, leading to a fight involving the deceased and two of his associates against people living at the B&B.

When one of the men threw a naggin of vodka at the accused or his son, who was standing beside him, the accused produced the knife and launched the fatal attack.

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Peter Doyle

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