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'How can you stab someone 17 times and not be convicted of murder?'

The family of Emmett Connolly, stabbed to death viciously in Cootehill, Co. Cavan 18 months ago, have spoken of the depth of their loss.

Kevin Moran
Kevin Moran
Image: RTE

THE FAMILY OF 32-year-old Cavan archaeologist Emmett Connolly have spoken of their disbelief at his killer’s manslaughter sentence.

Connolly, who had only just returned to Ireland after 18 months in Australia, was stabbed 17 times by Dublin native Kevin Moran (30) following a night out in Cootehill, Co Cavan on 29 September, 2013.

Moran was last month sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter by Justice Paul Carney, with the final two years suspended.

Speaking on RTE’s Today With Seán O’Rourke this morning, Emmett’s sister Leah said the Connolly family were taken aback by the verdict handed down by the trial jury.

“We were very surprised to put it lightly,” she said.

I mean how can you be stabbed 17 times and the person who did it not be convicted of murder?
There was no evidence of an altercation, the defence accepted all the facts, while the man who killed Emmett changed his story numerous times.
Yet when they’re summing up they come up with that word, ‘provocation’, it doesn’t make any sense.

Emmett 3 Emmett Connolly Source: Simone van Hattem

There is no evidence of the altercation that took place between Emmett and Kevin Moran. The two were unknown to each other before the night of the killing, while the stab wounds aside there was no evidence of violence on either party

“There’s only one man who knows the answer to that,” said Emmett’s father Frank.

Moran, a widowed father of three, had moved to the area from Dublin and stayed on following his partner’s death, but was not well known locally.

When questioned by Gardaí, he initially claimed to have fought with Connolly and stabbed him in a panic, but later, when the pathologist report suggested Connolly had been stabbed by someone standing over him, he admitted to having acted ‘in a rage’.

Connolly’s father (who in a victim impact statement at trial had described his family as a ‘broken entity on a journey to hell’ in the wake of his son’s killing) said that he and his wife Mary were now living their lives “in a state of mental and physical exhaustion 24 hours a day.”

“We can’t go into our local town,” said Leah.

You never know who you’ll meet, who knows information about the case, who was called as a witness.
In our house, we’ve never touched Emmett’s room – it’s still the same as when he stepped into the shower before heading out that day. His bag is still unpacked from Australia.

The worst thing about the case was knowing that Emmett might have been saved said his father.

“We were told he died because of three stab wounds to his lung, that he basically choked on his own blood,” said Frank.

Yet there were no phone calls to 999 by his killer. He called friends, he told someone to mind his children, he even told a neighbour, but he did nothing to save our son.

Connolly spoke movingly about how Emmett, a graduate of NUI Galway, was ‘born’ to be an archaeologist.

He loved the outdoors so much, and when he set his mind to doing something he did it.
We didn’t realise just how many friends he had, we’ve had people from all over the country and Australia being in touch with us, and he was very much loved.

“By a mile, people loved Emmett,” he said.

Read: Gardaí involved in arrest of Clare Daly ‘failing to cooperate with investigation’

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