Alcoholic jailed for killing his brother in kettle row
Published 15/10/2010 | 05:00
AN alcoholic who left his brother to die over several days after beating him with an iron bar in a row over a kettle was jailed for four years yesterday.
John Mahon (61) claimed he hit his brother a few times with a tubular iron bar, known as a water key, to "shut him up" after a row about burning a kettle in the house they had shared since childhood.
He later told gardai he didn't get help for his brother, Terence Mahon (58), despite understanding he was badly injured on the floor because he thought he would be "all right".
Detective Sergeant Peter Woods revealed that a neuropathologist had concluded that the deceased had lain comatose for days before death, as there was evidence of healing around the head wounds.
Mahon, of Bentley House, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his brother at their Patrician Villas family home in Stillorgan between January 16 and 18 last year. He had no previous convictions.
Judge Patrick McCartan, in the Circuit Criminal Court, extended his sympathies to the Mahon family, saying: "The viciousness of the attack is compounded beyond justification by the callous abandoning of (Terence) over a few days."
He said medical reports suggested the deceased had survived long enough for Mahon to have sobered up and got help.
The court heard that neighbours called emergency services late on January 18, after Mahon had told them his brother might be dead in the house.
Det Sgt Woods said that there was no garda investigation into the death until Mahon made a statement the following day.
The court heard that Mahon's admissions were confusing because he had issues recalling days and dates.
But gardai eventually gleaned from him that he had followed his brother upstairs after the kettle-burning row, caused him to bang his head off a wall by striking him with a walking stick and then hit him with the water key, leaving him comatose on the floor with a fractured skull, the court heard.
Gardai ascertained from neighbours' last sightings of Terence Mahon and the pathology reports that he had died over a few days.
The detective read out a victim impact statement submitted by the Mahon family, which described their anger towards Mahon for leaving his brother to die alone on the floor.
The family said they would never forgive Mahon, understand his actions, nor forget the "inhumane" way in which he abandoned his brother.
The judge said he thought seven years was a reasonable sentence, but suspended the final three years, given Mahon's early plea, personal circumstances and the fact he was not likely to re-offend.