Man guilty of killing victim for his heroin
A MAN accused of murdering a 28-year-old whose body was found in the boot of his own car was found guilty of manslaughter yesterday.
Stephen Penrose, of no fixed abode, had denied murdering David Sharkey in Navan, Co Meath, in May of last year. He had admitted manslaughter but the DPP rejected the plea.
Penrose told the jury at the Central Criminal Court that he had only planned to steal heroin from Mr Sharkey, as he had become addicted to the drug after the death of his baby girl.
He said the plan went wrong when Mr Sharkey produced a knife and demanded his drugs back. Penrose then stabbed Mr Sharkey 13 times on the stairwell of an apartment at Parkview, Blackcastle in Navan on the evening of May 17, 2009.
The 18cm blade went through Mr Sharkey's shoulder blade and also penetrated his heart, stomach and liver.
Penrose told the jury that he was using heroin "all day, every day" at the time of the killing. He was involved in a "drugs relationship" with a woman and had been staying with her at the apartment in Parkview.
He said it was her idea to get Mr Sharkey to come to the apartment with an ounce of heroin and that they would then steal the drugs.
The jury was shown CCTV footage of the accused buying the knife in Tesco in Navan on the afternoon in question.
While in the store, he received a text saying Mr Sharkey was ready to do the deal. Penrose replied, saying: "Get him to wait till six o'clock... den I be ready for him."
In his account, Penrose said that after Mr Sharkey had handed over the heroin, Penrose tried to get out, saying he had to get money from his car.
But Mr Sharkey took out a knife and came towards him. Penrose then produced his own knife and stabbed Mr Sharkey. He said the whole thing was "pure panic".
Afterwards, Penrose cleaned up the scene, put the body in the boot of the dead man's BMW and drove to Dunsink Lane in Finglas, Dublin, where he planned to burn everything.
However, he was followed by gardai who happened to be on patrol in the lane and he ended up abandoning the car in a halting site, before fleeing the scene.
Penrose's lawyer, Mr Patrick Marrinnan, drew the jury's attention to the fact that the killing took place in broad daylight in an apartment next to busy shops that were covered with CCTV cameras.
He said the notion that it was premeditated was "illogical and defies common sense".
After nearly six hours of deliberating over two days, the jury acquitted Penrose of murder by a majority 10-2 verdict.
Mr Justice Paul Carney exempted them from jury duty for the rest of their lives. Penrose is to be sentenced for manslaughter on July 5.