Man jailed for life over 'pedigree chihuahua' murder
Second man remanded in custody ahead of sentencing next Monday
A man has been jailed for life while another will be sentenced next Monday for their part in killing a man during an argument over a pedigree chihuahua.
Josh Turner (24) of Mooretown, Ratoath, Co Meath was found guilty earlier this month of murdering 27-year-old Christopher Nevin at a house on Tailteann Road in Navan on November 19, 2015.
Wayne Cluskey (25), of the same address, was found not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter for his part in Mr Nevin's death. At a sentence hearing at the Central Criminal Court today Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced Turner to life imprisonment, the mandatory sentence for murder. After hearing statements from Mr Nevin's mother Mary Nevin and wife Lisa Nevin, Justice McCarthy said he would sentence Cluskey next Monday.
Garda Michael Fitzpatrick of Navan Garda station read the statements in court. Lisa Nevin said that her husband loved life and dreamed of having a big family. "He had a heart of gold and if he had got the chance he would have been a brilliant father."
She described him as her life and her future. "Without him I just feel dead inside. The last memory I have of my husband is lying in a pool of blood and I just wanted to help him and begged God, "don't take him from me"." She said she has tried to take her own life four times and despite the help of psychiatrists she can't come to terms with his death.
Mary Nevin described Josh Turner as a "monster" who had brutally murdered her son, robbing him of his future and breaking his family. "I miss his loud laugh, his smile. I miss seeing him and his wife happy," she said.
"I want to hold him and tell him that I love him, my poor child."
In relation to Wayne Cluskey, she said she knows the jury convicted him of manslaughter, but her feelings towards him are the same as her feelings towards Josh Turner.
Giving evidence at the hearing, Garda Fitzpatrick told prosecuting counsel Michael O'Higgins SC that Josh Turner has more than 200 convictions, all of them at the District Court level. Most were for road traffic offences including driving without insurance, a licence and NCT. He had one conviction for assault, one for unlawful possession of drugs and one for criminal damage and robbery for which he was sentenced to ten months.
Cluskey has 41 previous convictions, again all dealt with by the District Court. He had one for assault causing harm for which he was sentenced to five months. He had 15 convictions for cruelty to animals.
Shane Costelloe SC, defending Cluskey, told Justice McCarthy that his client left school aged 14 with no qualifications. Following the death of his father he took over the family lands at Ratoath and made a modest living doing manual labour, selling logs and leasing parts of the land.
He asked Justice McCarthy to consider that although Cluskey ran into Mr Nevin and kicked off the violence that led to his victim's death, he did not strike any of the fatal blows to Mr Nevin's head. He said the jury's decision to find him guilty of manslaughter rather than murder meant that they believed he was acting in defence of his friend when he "barreled into" Christopher Nevin, who was holding a hatchet and threatening Josh Turner.
Mr Costelloe further pointed out that Cluskey offered to plead guilty to manslaughter months before trial but the prosecution rejected the plea. He said that his client is "deeply sorry and very, very, very remorseful" and there was never any intention to kill Christopher Nevin, who Cluskey considered a friend.
Josh Turner's life sentence was backdated to November 25, 2015, when he was first put into custody following Mr Nevin's death.