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Nine year sentence for man who killed friend over 'paltry' €100 debt

The judge said it was hard to believe that such ‘a paltry sum of money’ could lead to such violence amongst men who were former friends.

A MAN HAS been jailed for nine years for killing his 25-year-old friend who he stabbed in the neck after they had rowed over a €100 debt and a stolen scooter.

Sentencing John Titiloye at the Central Criminal Court today, Justice Paul McDermott said it was hard to believe that such “a paltry sum of money” would generate such a level of bad feeling and violence amongst men who were former friends.

The judge also said that John Titloye’s attack on Ademola “Dizzy” Giwa was an immediate and rapid response to what the defendant saw happen to his father.

“Seeing his father attacked brought about an immediate reaction which saw Mr Titiloye wade into the fight,” he added.

The judge said that Titiloye maintained that Giwa was wearing a knuckle duster at the time and that his father had suffered a serious eye injury during the incident.

John Titiloye (28), with an address at Mac Uilliam Crescent, Fortunestown, Tallaght, Dublin 24 had pleaded not guilty to murdering Giwa (25) in the Mac Uilliam Road area in Tallaght on 10 August 2021.

Giwa was from Mac Uilliam Parade in the same west Dublin town.

Last May, Titiloye was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by a Central Criminal Court jury.

The jurors unanimously rejected the prosecution case that Titiloye was guilty of murder and that he intentionally stabbed Giwa in the neck, intending to kill or cause serious injury, after a row over a stolen scooter.

Before delivering the sentence today, the judge said that Giwa, who was a very much loved son and was of great support to his parents and siblings, was unlawfully killed by Titiloye one month before his 26th birthday.

The deceased’s family had spoken lovingly of him and how he had enriched their lives, said the judge. “The loss to them is incalculable and his father speaks with great dignity and restraint”.

In a victim impact statement read to the court last week, Gaffar Giwa, the father of Giwa, said he had lost life’s most precious gift and that “there is no greater pain than to see your child lying in a coffin knowing that he was stabbed to death by a so-called friend”.

Giwa said that “Ademola’s loss cannot be described in words. He is my first son… his role in our family is irreplaceable, his support is unquantifiable”.

Passing sentence today, the judge said Titiloye and his two friends had gone to the area where witness Samson Fayemi (26) lived and had confronted him aggressively about a €100 debt owed by Fayemi to the defendant.

When Fayemi was not forthcoming, the defendant and his friends forcibly took his scooter and drove off, he said.
Fayemi and Giwa then called to Titiloye’s home at Mac Uilliam Crescent at 6.45pm the following day and a physical altercation broke out, which Anthony Titiloye [the defendant's father] had involved himself in.

Clearly, said the judge, Fayemi and Giwa wanted to get the scooter back but that the defendant was intent on not giving it back and that this was all over a €100 debt.

The judge said Titiloye had run into the affray, stabbed the deceased and ran away from the scene without offering him any help.

The assault on the defendant’s father by Giwa and Fayemi was instantaneous and Titiloye was heard saying “not my dad, not my dad”, said the judge.

The court has heard that Titiloye has 23 previous convictions, which mainly relate to minor road traffic offences but some were for drug offences in the District Court.

The judge pointed out that the defendant seemed capable of adapting the story to suit the occasion to his own benefit and had lied to gardai about the reason he had purchased the knife.

He also said that Titiloye had limited understanding of the consequences of his behaviour and offending.

He had also attempted to justify and rationalise his actions to the probation service, he added.

The aggravating factors in the case included that a knife had been brought, brandished and used by Titiloye.

He said the defendant was captured on CCTV footage swinging “the lethal weapon” at the deceased and had twice made contact with him.

He said Titiloye had used disproportionate force as part of a spontaneous response in a pressurised situation.

He set the headline sentence at 11 years.

In mitigation, the judge noted the defendant’s regret and remorse.

In a letter of apology, Titiloye had said that he relives the day of the killing “every day” in his head, held all responsibility for what happened and felt the most remorse for Giwa’s parents.

“I wish it was me it happened to instead of him, he was a great man,” the defendant wrote.

The judge said he was not convinced that Titiloye had fully appreciated the enormity of the crime.

“His actions the previous day indicated a sense of entitlement, which contributed in no small way to the following day’s events,” he added.

Titiloye was sentenced to ten years in prison with the final year suspended for a period of two years.

It was backdated to when he went into custody on 11 August, 2021.