Tuesday 26 September 2017

Man pleads guilty to killing his one-time best friend

Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A MAN has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his one-time best friend and neighbour over six years ago.

Aidan Finnegan (31), of Whitestown Avenue, Hartstown, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, had been charged with the murder of Dara McCormack (22) in Whitestown, Blanchardstown, on February 11, 2006.

Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, Finnegan pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr McCormack. This plea was accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Justice Paul Carney directed the preparation of a victim impact report and remanded Finnegan in custody to appear before the court again on June 11 for sentence.

A previous trial into the death of the construction worker had collapsed after one of the key prosecution witnesses refused to answer questions on cross-examination.

That trial heard that Mr McCormack was shot in the back in the Whitestown Park area. He was found bleeding and struggling for breath on the ground by a neighbour and his father, Thomas McCormack.

Dying

Thomas McCormack was told by his son, as he lay dying in his arms, that Finnegan had shot him.

He said Finnegan and his son did everything together and were like brothers.

The court also heard that leading up to his death Mr McCormack had texted several friends, and his older sister, asking for a loan.

Evidence was given at the trial that Finnegan had texted Mr McCormack in the weeks prior to the shooting asking for money he was owed by him.

Stephen Kavanagh (30), of Whitestown Park, Hartstown, was one of the prosecution's key witnesses in the trial. In his evidence he said Finnegan rang him on the evening of the killing, asking him to arrange a meeting with Mr McCormack in a laneway in Hartstown.

A few hours later, he heard a gunshot and ran outside to find Mr McCormack on the ground after being shot and asking for an ambulance.

Mr Kavanagh dialled 999 and then cycled to Thomas McCormack's house to tell him his son had been shot.

The trial collapsed last year when Mr Kavanagh refused to answer questions in cross-examination and was jailed for three months for contempt of court.

The court was told that he was sorry for what he had done, but felt he was "under a burden he couldn't cope with".

Irish Independent

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