'Cowardly' killer gets life
Donal was 'an easy target for predator'
THE family of a retired bar worker who was killed after a man stamped on his skull and then stole his TV expressed horror at his "cowardly" and "unprovoked" murder.
Paul Murphy (25) received a mandatory life sentence yesterday after being convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of the murder of Donal Manley (62) two years ago.
Murphy remained emotionless as he was jailed after being convicted of the 2008 murder following a three-week trial in Co Cork.
The court heard that he suffers from chronic alcohol and drug problems.
The victim's brother, Pat, said Donal had been an easy target -- and had then had his character "viciously attacked" during the trial.
"Donal had in recent years retired from the bar trade as a result of arthritis in his legs, which made it difficult for him to stand for long periods of time," Pat said.
"Already small in stature, this condition further diminished his size and he walked with a distinctive amble.
"I cannot help but to think that he presented an easy target for those who seek out the weak and the vulnerable to prey on to fuel their non-productive lives," he added.
Mr Manley said his family was appalled at the manner in which his brother's character was attacked during the trial.
"Particularly painful was to hear details of the violent nature of Donal's death and the vicious and slanderous statements made against his character," he added.
"Such statements are easily made when the person is no longer around to defend themselves."
Donal's sister Mary Greene said they were devastated by the nature of the killing.
"Donal could not defend himself and he was killed by this man. It was a cowardly, unprovoked and brutal attack in his own home. This has been very difficult for all the family. Donal was such a happy-go-lucky, decent, kind man," she said.
Paul Murphy, of Kilmore Road, Knocknaheeny, Co Cork, was convicted following deliberations that lasted two hours and 36 minutes.
The prosecution said that sometime between 2pm and 5pm on October 10, 2008, Mr Manley was brutally assaulted in his own home.
Mr Manley died from a contusion to the brain and an inter-cranial haemorrhage.
His jaw was broken in two places, there were two fractures to his left cheekbone and he also suffered severe bruising around the face and eyes.
The State said the pathology evidence indicated that the extent of the injuries were consistent with someone having stamped on Mr Manley's head.
The trial also heard that a palm-print in the victim's blood was found on the kitchen door matching that of the accused.
Murphy had insisted that there was another individual present in Mr Manley's house.
When gardai told him the man he named had an alibi, Mr Murphy replied: "Sure anyone could provide an alibi."
Murphy claimed that the victim had made a pass at him.
The defendant also claimed that he was very intoxicated at the time -- but the State challenged the extent of that intoxication on the basis of the number of phone calls that were made that evening.
The court heard yesterday that Murphy had 23 previous convictions, including three previous convictions for assault -- one of which involved him striking a person with a glass and then stamping on their head.
Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed a mandatory life sentence, which he backdated to October 19, 2008. Murphy also received a five-year concurrent prison term for the robbery.