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File photo of a courtroom Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
Central Criminal Court

Man who stabbed ex-partner's boyfriend in 'sneak attack' found guilty of murder

Nassar Ahmed the stabbing was in self defence but this was not accepted by the jury.

A MAN WHO stabbed his ex-partner’s boyfriend to death in a “sneak attack” after inviting him for a fist fight has been found guilty of murder by a unanimous jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

The jury took just two hours and five minutes to deliver their verdict, rejecting Nassar Ahmed’s claim that he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Eoin Boylan three times.

The prosecution had told the jury that Ahmed, 41, stabbed Boylan in a “sneak attack” after inviting him to a fist fight while he had a knife concealed in his pocket. Ahmed told gardaí that he grabbed something sharp after being attacked but said he couldn’t remember what it was or where he threw it away.

Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, said in his closing speech that the accused had told “lie after lie” to gardaí about the weapon used and that the lies were so bad they were “borderline laughable”.

The State’s barrister argued the issue of self-defence did not arise in the case as the deceased had been in “manifest retreat” when he was stabbed three times by the accused.

The jury watched CCTV footage of the stabbing which Ahmed accepted in his garda interviews showed Boylan retreating from the attack.

Ahmed had admitted to unlawfully killing Boylan but said he believed he was acting in self-defence. The jury rejected his claim, accepting the prosecution’s case that Ahmed was the aggressor and did not believe he was using reasonable force to defend himself.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon thanked the jury for their service and remanded Ahmed in custody until a sentencing hearing on 26 July when Boylan’s family will have an opportunity to make a statement to the court.

Ahmed faces the mandatory sentence for murder of life imprisonment. He did not react after the jury verdict.

Nassar Ahmed of The Mews, Kilrush Road, Ennis had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Eoin Boylan (32) at Gordon Drive, Cloughleigh, Ennis, on April 14, 2020.

The trial heard that Ahmed, who is originally from Sudan in North Africa, came to Ireland in the mid 2000′s and settled in Ennis, Co Clare, where he met Susan O’Doherty, got married in 2007 and had three children. Their marriage broke down however and it ended completely in November 2018.

Around Christmas 2019, Ahmed’s former partner met Eoin Boylan and they started a relationship together. The court heard that Boylan moved into the woman’s house “quite quickly” after their relationship commenced.

On the day of the attack, the trial heard there was phone communication between Ahmed and his former partner as the accused wanted to come to the house, over which a dispute arose.

The deceased’s mother Catherine Martin gave evidence during the trial, telling Staines that the accused did not look “very happy” when he arrived outside the house on the day of the stabbing. “Although he didn’t show it, I think he was angry,” Martin said.

She recalled that Ahmed started to call his former partner names as the pair argued outside. “He called her a whore,” she said.

The witness then described how her son, who was in the kitchen, came out the front door when he heard Nassar shouting.

“I came out behind him,” she told the court.

She said her son said he was going out to ask Ahmed to stop shouting, and to ask him if he wanted to come inside. The witness then told Staines that she watched as Ahmed “stood on his tippy-toes and moved very quickly, then stood on one leg and lunged towards my son”.

“I let out a roar for him [Ahmed] to stop,” Martin said. “I put my arm under him to support him [Boylan], to bring him back to the house. Susan [O’Doherty, Ahmed’s former partner] was on the other side, and roaring at Nassar, saying ‘what have you done?’.”

Self-defence

Before the jury went out to consider their verdict, Ms Justice Creedon told the seven men and five women that a person has the right to defend themselves if struck but they do not have the right to avenge themselves.

She said the jury must first-decide if the accused believed it was necessary to use force to defend himself. If Ahmed was the aggressor, she said, then self defence would not arise and he would be guilty of murder.

She told the jury to consider whether Ahmed had an honest belief that the force used was necessary.

“If he did not have that honest belief, self-defence does not arise,” she said. If the jury concluded that he used no more force than he believed was necessary to defend himself, but used more force than was reasonably necessary, then the correct verdict would have been not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

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