Irishman gets 15 years in jail and ordered to pay €200,000 for brutal knife murder in Tenerife
Published 12/12/2012 | 05:00
AN Irishman has been jailed for 15 years and three months for the "brutal" murder of a ferry worker in Tenerife – and ordered to pay €200,000 to the victim's parents.
Keith Burke (21), from Dublin, stabbed Abraham Baez (24) repeatedly in a frenzied knife attack after coming off worse in a street punch-up.
Judge Fernando Paredes criticised Burke for failing to show remorse over the horrific killing.
But he jailed the Irishman for close to the minimum prison term for murder because of his young age and the "confusion" surrounding the fight.
Burke's then girlfriend Sara Stuart was given a nine-month suspended prison sentence for wounding the Spaniard's girlfriend Laura Negrin during the same brawl.
The judge took into account that Ms Stuart (30), also from Dublin, suffered injuries in her brawl with Ms Negrin.
Passing sentence, he said: "The accused showed only the slightest traces of repentance for this brutal and unjustified action."
He described the attack as "premeditated" and said the victim was left "absolutely defenceless" when Burke surprised him by stabbing him with a knife he had "hidden in the palm of his hand".
The killer was also ordered to pay his victim's parents Maria Teresa and Juan Antonio €200,000 in compensation.
Burke's defence lawyer Avelino Miguez said his client would appeal against the conviction.
Burke was found guilty of murder by a jury on November 30 following a week-long trial in Tenerife's capital, Santa Cruz.
The jury also found Ms Stuart guilty of wounding but cleared her of the more serious accusation of wounding Ms Negrin with a rock.
Ms Stuart was ordered to pay Ms Negrin €600 in compensation.
The fight broke out at 6am in the resort of Playa de las Americas on April 30, 2010, as both couples returned from separate drunken nights out.
The brawl started when Ms Negrin accidentally banged a car door on to Ms Stuart outside the Hotel Tropical Playa.
Burke, who was just 18 at the time, and Mr Baez had a fist fight, which the Spaniard won. Then the Irishman stormed off to his nearby holiday apartment, grabbed a kitchen knife with a 9cm blade and returned to the scene.
The jury found Burke had deliberately hidden the blade in the palm of his hand to give him the element of surprise over the larger Spaniard. He stabbed him in the neck, face and shoulder, severing his carotid artery with the killer blow.
Mr Baez stumbled 45 metres into the reception of the hotel, where he collapsed and died from massive blood loss.