Life for man who shot friend after watching violent films
A FATHER of four is beginning a life sentence for shooting a friend in the back of the neck because he refused to leave his apartment.
Peter Donnelly (52) was convicted of murdering Edward Flanagan (49) at the property in Santry, Dublin, in June 2011.
The jury of seven men and three women returned with a majority 11-1 verdict of guilty of murder after five hours and 20 minutes of deliberation.
Marie Flanagan described her brother's death as a brutal murder, and said she did not accept that Donnelly had no recollection of what happened.
Donnelly and her brother were drinking buddies, she said, not best friends.
She said it was cruel that her brother's 12-year-old son would have to deal with the loss of his father, and as an entire family they were finding the murder very hard to come to terms with.
Donnelly, of Larch Hill Apartments, Santry, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Mr Flanagan (49) at the same address on June 16, 2011.
He admitted having an automatic pistol and three rounds of ammunition at the same address on June 15, 2011, although he had denied these charges at the start of the trial.
Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced Donnelly to life imprisonment for the murder and five years on each of the other counts of possession of the pistol and ammunition to run concurrently. He backdated it to June 16, 2011 for time spent in custody.
The court heard that Donnelly and Mr Flanagan had been drinking cans in a field behind Belcamp College in Coolock with two other men. They later went to Donnelly's house to continue drinking and watched the violent British films 'Snatch' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'.
Later, the deceased and Donnelly started dancing. Gary McMahon, one of the other men there, said an argument began between Donnelly and Mr Flanagan.
He said Donnelly was running around slagging Mr Flanagan and he recalled him saying he would shoot him.
Mr McMahon said Donnelly walked around the back of the couch, put a gun to Mr Flanagans head and was shouting in a rage just before he shot him.
Gardai had to force open the door of the apartment and emergency services tried to revive Mr Flanagan.
When the victim was found he had no top on and was holding a can of Dutch Gold lager beer.
The court heard Donnelly went to Coolock garda station the next day and told them he discharged the gun.
Donnelly lied to gardai, saying Mr Flanagan had brought the gun to his apartment, but later admitted he had it himself.
Det Garda Shay Woods said Donnelly had 33 previous convictions including road traffic offences, larceny, intoxication and disorderly behaviour.
Patrick Marinan SC, defending, said it was out of character for his client, who was sorry.