Courts

Friday 1 August 2014

Murderer hid victim in wardrobe after stabbing him 70 times

Anne Sharkey

Published 11/02/2014|02:30

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Bernard Locke
Bernard Locke

A MAN with 40 previous convictions has been jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder of a man whose body was found in a wardrobe.

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Yesterday, the daughter of Christopher Jackson – who was stabbed to death in his Dublin flat on September 7, 2012 – told the court in her victim-impact statement that, since his death, she no longer celebrates her birthday.

Bernard Locke (41), from Ramillies Road, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty two weeks ago to the murder of Mr Jackson (53).

Conor Devally, prosecuting, read the statement by Mr Jackson's daughter, Nadine Clifford, to the court before sentencing. He said that Ms Clifford felt she had been robbed of a father.

"I feel Bernard Locke robbed me of my father. Dad will miss out on my wedding and any children I may have. I will have to attend some form of counselling and will never have full closure.

"I no longer have my father in my life – no one will ever replace him. I feel it is very unfair.

"It was two days after my 21st birthday when I heard – I don't celebrate it anymore.

"While I feel some comfort that he (Bernard Locke) was man enough to admit to the crime, he will eventually be released from prison while my father is in the grave."

GUILTY

Locke pleaded guilty to a single count of murder immediately after he was arrested.

"Mr Jackson's body was discovered in his own flat on Prussia Street wrapped in duvet covers," said Mr Devally.

"Mr Jackson had been the subject of multiple stabbings. Bernard Locke conceded he was guilty of the killing immediately upon arrest.

"In six garda interviews, he accepted responsibility that he had descended to the lower flat and had stabbed Mr Jackson through the heart severing a rather significant artery."

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis had told the court the first wound would have been enough to be fatal. There were a total of around 70 stab wounds to the body.

"Steps had been taken to secrete the body," said Mr Devally. "There had been some spraying with bleach and even shampoo on the walls.

"Mr Locke had made efforts to remove the body from the scene, which caused police to be tipped off."

Mr Devally said that Locke had 40 previous convictions including one for assault causing serious harm in which he had used a knife.

Aileen Donnelly SC, defence counsel for Locke, said he had hoped that his guilty plea would be accepted as remorse, adding that there had been a huge amount of drink involved.

Mr Justice Paul Carney sentenced Locke to the mandatory sentence of imprisonment for life, backdating it to September 8, 2012.

Irish Independent

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