THE brother of a murdered taxi driver met the killer as he desperately searched for the missing father of two.
Lloyd Buckley (40) gave Dermot Healy the contact details of the landlord of the apartment where he had killed Michael Healy (62), but never gave any hint that he was lying dead in a bathroom just feet from where they chatted.
Buckley was naked when he answered his own door to a worried Dermot Healy. He lived across the hall from Michael Healy, who he battered to death with a heavy object as he slept.
Such was the violence of the attack that fragments of Mr Healy's skull were driven into his brain and an eyeball was forced into his brain cavity.
Buckley was unanimously convicted of murder by a Central Criminal Court jury after 90 minutes of deliberation following a one-week trial.
Buckley, who sobbed throughout the sentencing hearing yesterday, admitted the manslaughter of Mr Healy but denied his murder at Rock-springs Terrace, Cork, between September 18 and 22, 2010.
Dermot Healy said that as he searched for his brother in the apartment complex, Buckley had opened his flat door.
"I knew where he (Michael) was living but I still had to find the flat," Mr Healy said.
"I knocked at a door and a man answered who was not wearing any clothes. I asked this man about my brother Mike and he pointed at the door which was opposite to his.
"I then went to Mike's door and started knocking and shouting his name. When there was no response I went back to this man's door and knocked again. When he came out this time he was wearing a towel around him."
The man gave Mr Healy contact details for the property landlord, and the victim's body was found the next day.
"When I think now of meeting this man and he looking at me and knowing what he had done and knowing that Mike could have been lying there in the corner of the room for two days at least, it makes me so angry and disgusted," he said.
The trial heard that Mr Healy was murdered while lying in bed. His body was then dragged into his small bathroom.
Buckley later told gardai he felt like "a caged animal" in his flat that weekend as he contemplated taking his own life. He said he called to Mr Healy's flat seeking help.
The taxi driver would often lend money to Buckley who was unemployed and suffered from alcohol and drug problems.
Buckley wept as the jury returned the guilty verdict and Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed the mandatory life sentence.
Buckley apologised to the Healy family for the suffering he had caused them and described the victim as a kind man.
"I wish to say how sorry I am for causing so much pain and hurt and every day I wish I could undo this," he said.
The victim's two sons, Paul and Declan, said their father "remains a constant of our love".
Buckley has 26 previous convictions for burglary and public order offences and was described as "sad, lonely and isolated".
He also had addiction problems involving alcohol, heroin and medications. In 2009, he was placed in psychiatric care.