Tears as drug murderer gets life
Man stabbed in the back during laneway scam
Published 13/03/2010 | 05:00
A 22-year-old man was yesterday jailed for life after the Central Criminal Court found him guilty of murdering another man during a drugs scam in December 2007.
After just under six hours of deliberations, the jury found Warren Graham guilty of murdering Paul Keegan (42) in a laneway behind Cherryfield Road in Walkinstown, south-west Dublin.
Several members of the jury broke down in tears and one had to leave the courtroom sobbing as the majority verdict of 10 to 2 was read out.
After the verdict Graham broke down and cried while a victim impact statement was read out on behalf of Mr Keegan's sister.
Deborah Cantwell said she threw the phone across the room when she got the call to say her eldest sibling was dead. She didn't sleep or eat properly for weeks afterwards.
She said she feels like her "insides are shaking" all the time and she hasn't been able to return to work since.
The jury also found Graham, of Shancastle Lawn, Clondalkin, Dublin, guilty of a second charge of having an imitation firearm with intention to cause robbery on the same date, December 10, 2007.
The firearm was a Mac II Ingram 6mm air gun, designed to look like a small Uzi sub-machine gun. Their verdict on this charge was unanimous.
During the five-day trial, the jury heard that Graham admitted to gardai he knifed Mr Keegan in the back. But he said he was acting in defence of his friend, who was getting "the head boxed off him" by Mr Keegan.
"I panicked, I had the knife and I just stabbed him . . . I didn't mean to kill him . . . I just wanted to get him off (my friend)," he said.
He said he only remembered stabbing Mr Keegan twice. But the jury heard Mr Keegan sustained four stab wounds, the deepest of which was 19cm.
After the accused handed himself in a week later, he told gardai he only became involved in the drugs scam the night before it occurred.
He was instructed by a third party to go to the lane behind Cherryfield Road with his friend and pretend they had 50kg of hash in the boot of their car for two men; Mr Keegan and his friend Thomas Maher.
The accused and his friend were given a carving knife and the imitation firearm and told to use them to intimidate the men and get the money for the drugs.