independent

Monday 21 April 2014

There were only six people still in the house when tragedy struck

Gardai at the scene of the stabbing on Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Co Dublin.

IT WAS a Christmas night party that went horribly wrong.

What should have been a high point of Yuletide celebration left one man dead and another fighting for his life.

Before the tragedy happened, all around the south Dublin housing estate twinkling lights in windows and doorways signalled the season of goodwill.

Earlier in the day, David Spain had welcomed a large group of old friends to his parents' home for a seasonal get-together.

Branches of holly and other Christmas decorations added to the festive mood and neighbouring houses also displayed the spirit of the season.

As guests arrived at Mr Spain's parents' house in Rathsallagh Park in Shankill shortly after 9pm, the sounds of Christmas good cheer could be heard by neighbours and passers-by.

More guests drifted into the home as the night wore on. But in the early hours of the morning the mood dramatically changed.

Neighbours were roused from their sleep by the sounds of shouting.

There were only six people remaining in the house when tragedy struck shortly after 5.15am.

Fighting back tears, David Spain's father, also called David, explained how his son had only returned home from Australia 10 weeks ago and had already started planning the next step of his travels.

TRAGEDY

"He loved his time in Australia, but intended to start a new life in Canada in the new year," explained the father.

"He had been organising everything so that he could go to Canada after Christmas to work in construction again."

Mr Spain was a sports enthusiast, a GAA fanatic and diehard Celtic supporter, his father said.

"He played in seven-a-side side soccer leagues in Australia and his team won the league. He had travelled

home with the trophy because he wanted to show it to us.

"He came home to Dublin on his own but he had made lots of friends over there and was a very popular lad.

"When he got home, he had started to go steady with an Irish girl and was very happy with her."

Mr Spain's sister, who is currently in Australia, has been informed of the tragedy and is on her way back to Ireland, said the father.

Meanwhile, Sean Turner (22) -- a nine-times Irish amateur boxing champion at various levels -- remains fighting for life in hospital.

The accomplished sportsman won the Irish Senior Elite Heavyweight Championship this year.

Described as an "explosive puncher" by commentators, he has also fought in the World Series of Boxing for the Los Angeles Matadors.

Shocked neighbours on the normally quiet housing estate described the "pandemonium that broke out" after 5.30am.

"There were cop cars everywhere and there were young kids looking out of bedroom windows trying to see what was going on," said one neighbour.

"It's such a tragedy that this kind of thing happened, especially at Christmas. The young man's poor family will be devastated.

Irish Independent

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