A DUBLIN father whose only child was murdered has spoken of the void left in his life after his teenaged son was stabbed to death.
David Hayes was giving his victim impact statement to the Central Criminal Court today, a week after Marcus Kirwan (19) was imprisoned for life for murdering his son, David Byrne, also 19.
“I remember the night the guards called to the door to tell me my son, David, had been murdered,” wrote Mr Hayes in a statement read to the court by Sergeant Michael McNulty.
“They asked me to go to the hospital to identify his body,” he continued. “I thought they were joking.”
He said that when he arrived at the hospital, a garda was minding his only son’s body.
“I couldn’t touch him or hold him. I had to stand away from him,” he recalled.
He said that after he identified his body, hospital staff told him the extent of his son’s injuries.
Mr Hayes said that after leaving the hospital he was taken to the home of his son’s mother, Ann Byrne, who died from cancer four weeks later.
“I had to tell Ann her son was dead,” he said. “Then I had to go through the process of telling the rest of the family. It was an incredibly difficult thing to do.”
Mr Hayes described the next few days as a blur, as he tried to organise his child’s funeral.
He said his son, who was training to be a carer, was popular, hardworking and highly thought of in his workplace. He loved sport, music and animals, he said.
He said he had also been his mother’s carer during her battle with cancer and was missed by his brother, Christopher, and his nephew.
“There’s a massive void in my life that will never be filled. He was my only child,” said Mr Hayes, adding that he would never have grandchildren now.
“All I have are my memories and his grave,” he concluded.
The Dublin trial heard that Marcus Kirwan had pretended to be a girl, when he sent text messages to Mr Byrne suggesting they meet on the night of March 19, 2011.
When the Drimnagh teenager arrived to meet the girl, he was set upon by Kirwan and other youths, who chased him into a dead end at an apartment complex.
Kirwan of Cooley Road, also in Drimnagh, then stabbed Mr Byrne nine times, once in his face and eight times in his back.
Kirwan had been caught on CCTV camera chasing his victim and had been picked out of an ID parade by an eye witness, who saw the chase at Emmet Court, Inchicore.
He had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Byrne, but the jury found him guilty by unanimous verdict last week.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan handed him the mandatory life sentence for murder but adjourned hearing victim impact statements until yesterday.
Separately today, Mr Justice Paul Carney decided not to proceed against four men accused of contempt of court in relation to the trial.
The four men had been reported to Gardaí at the start of the trial, accused of witness intimidation. Mr Justice Carney had remanded them in custody for one night and then excluded them from the trial.
He said that those proceedings had achieved their objective of allowing the trial to come to a lawful end.