A MAN who stabbed his cousin to death with a flick knife he had bought the victim as a present was yesterday jailed for eight years.
Heroin addict Shane Millea (27), of Celbridge, Co Kildare, had been charged at the Central Criminal Court with the murder of his cousin Paul Harris (33) at the Cannonbrook estate in Lucan, Co Dublin, on December 2, 2010.
He pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Harris in March, which was accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions. He said he stabbed his cousin in self-defence.
However, Paul Harris' mother, Rosemary Bond, said outside the court that her family did not accept Millea's version of events and could never forgive him.
Ms Bond called on the Government to address the level of knife crime in the city, urging people to "let go of the knives" as they were "bringing destruction on to the streets of Dublin every single day".
The father of one was sentenced to 10 years by Mr Justice Paul Carney, who suspended the final two on the basis of Millea's plea of guilty and the condition that he "never possesses a knife in perpetuity". He ordered that the sentence date from December 2, 2010.
The court heard that Millea made a statement to gardai where he admitted stabbing Mr Harris in self-defence after the deceased man attacked him with an axe handle.
Detective Inspector Richard McDonald testified that gardai had no evidence to counteract Millea's version of events as there were no other witnesses.
A post-mortem carried out by Professor Marie Cassidy found that Mr Harris suffered six stab wounds and that his death was due to bleeding caused by the severing of his femoral artery and injuries to his abdominal organs.
In a letter to the court, Millea wrote that what he had done "cannot be repaired" and that he could not turn back the hands of time. He said he was sorry for what he had done, that Mr Harris was his best friend and that he sometimes wished he had died and Paul had lived.
Mr Justice Carney said the case had been portrayed as a tragic one in which the accused in self-defence killed his cousin and best friend, where the friendship appeared to have been based on a deep-rooted interest in knives.
He said that both had previous convictions for the possession of knives and an "extraordinary feature" of the case was that the day before his death the deceased was given a present of the flick knife that killed him.