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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Teen jailed for 4.5 years for stabbing young man in the heart at Halloween party

The incident occurred at the Oliver Bond Flats.

Oliver Bond Flats
Oliver Bond Flats
Image: Rolling News

Updated 3.20pm

THE TEENAGER WHO fatally stabbed 21-year-old Lorcan O’Reilly in the heart at a Halloween bonfire party was sentenced today to four-and-half-years’ detention.

At an arraignment hearing at the Central Criminal Court last November, the boy, who was 14 at the time, pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Lorcan O’Reilly’s manslaughter at the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin during the early hours of 1 November 2015.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy told the court – which had been closed off to members of the public except close relatives of the accused and deceased – that the accused was guilty of “a very grave offence”.

Altercation

Describing the events which led up to the stabbing that took place in an open area of the Oliver Bond Flats complex in south inner-city Dublin, the judge said:

Approximately 23 people were congregated in the area, and during the course of the evening an altercation occurred between the deceased and the accused.

During the row, the judge said, the accused had been brandishing a hurley but left the scene after it was taken from him by O’Reilly.

The boy, who is now aged 16 and cannot be named due to his age, returned a short time later with a knife in his possession and struck Lorcan O’Reilly in the chest with the weapon.

Mr Justice McCarthy added that the offence of manslaughter is “rendered far more serious when a knife is introduced into the equation and this is what the accused did”.

Referring to a “deeply affecting” victim impact report from O’Reilly’s father, Paddy Rooney, which he read out in court last week, the judge said one sentence in particular had summed up the family’s loss.

He said:

And I quote, ‘When he was stabbed in the heart that night it was all our hearts that were broken”.

The judge added that Lorcan O’Reilly’s “parents and other members of his family are having great difficulty getting over the death”.

He said that the appropriate sentence for this offence would have been eight years.

But, due to the accused’s early guilty plea, he was reducing the term by two years and would suspend the last 18 months of the sentence imposed.

“Short fuse”

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice McCarthy added that he was taking a number of factors into account, including the accused’s age at the time of the fatal attack, adding: “A judge must bear in mind sentencing is not an exercise in vengeance.”

The judge also noted the accused’s upbringing, which he described as “unsettled”.

He said the members of the household that the accused had grown up in were fear of “third parties” and that “there were frequent visits to the house by members of An Garda Siochana”.

Mr Justice McCarthy told the court: “At least one member of his immediate family is associated with criminal activities.”

The judge said that background reports had revealed that the accused had a low IQ.

He said that the accused admitted to a psychologist to having a “short fuse” and a “tendency to lose his temper” but he had “also expressed regret and he has some understanding of the harm he has caused”.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the suspended part of the sentence would last for two years, during which time the accused must be of good behaviour, abstain from taking illegal substances, and not associate with such persons deemed as inappropriate by the probation service, “save members of his immediate family”.

Read: Teenage boy admits stabbing Lorcan O’Reilly to death>

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Peter Doyle

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