Robber faces life for shopkeeper's murder
Published 14/04/2011 | 05:00
Anthony Farrell: outside court at an earlier hearing
A YOUNG butcher faces a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of murdering a shop owner with a knife.
Anthony Farrell (20), of Marian Villas in Arklow, Co Wicklow, had denied murdering John Deasy at Brauders newsagents in the town in November 2009.
There was no noticeable reaction from Farrell or members of the Deasy family as the unanimous guilty verdict was returned after just under four hours of deliberations by the jury yesterday.
Outside the courtroom, Mr Deasy's ex-wife and his two daughters embraced and broke down in tears.
Farrell stabbed Mr Deasy in the chest when the 44-year-old confronted him after he stole €50 from the till. The father of two collapsed and died in the doorway of the newsagents within minutes of being stabbed. The knife had gone in to a depth of 10cm, severing his aorta, and causing his lungs to fill with blood and substantial loss of blood.
During the three-day trial, the court heard that Farrell had arrived at Brauders at around 8pm wearing a balaclava and armed with a kitchen knife. When he demanded money from the shop assistant, she screamed for Mr Deasy, who was in his apartment overhead.
He arrived at the door of the shop, also armed with a knife, and confronted Farrell saying: "This is the second f**king time and this time I have the knife."
There had been two previous armed robberies at the shop, but Farrell had not been involved in either. The two began pushing and shoving each other, Farrell later telling gardai he was trying to get out but that Mr Deasy kept kicking him back inside the shop.
He said this happened three or four times, and "the last time I got him ... I stuck him with the knife when he was standing in the doorway, to get out".
Farrell was arrested two days later after gardai discovered a bloodstained knife and a balaclava in his garden shed. He initially denied his involvement, but later admitted that he had knifed the shop owner as he fled from the store.
"I hit him with force, I did hit him with force," he told gardai.
He also expressed remorse for the killing, but said "the only way to get out was to force him away".
Una Ni Raifeartaigh, prosecuting, had described the killing as a "means to an end" for Farrell, who will be handed down the mandatory life sentence on May 20 when victim impact statements will also be heard.