Tuesday 20 February 2018

Former soldier jailed for eight years for cousin’s manslaughter

Niamh O’Donoghue

A FORMER soldier who stabbed his first cousin 15 times has been given a 10-year sentence for his manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court.

Father-of-one Anthony Leahy (25) of Sirius House, Passage West had pleaded not guilty to murdering Jonathan Daly (25) at that address on January 19, 2012.

But last month the jury of eight women and four men found him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by unanimous decision after two hours of deliberation.

Today Mr Justice Paul Carney handed down a 10-year sentence and suspended the final two years backdating it to January 21, 2012 for time spent in custody.

The judge said the offence was in the most serious category of homicide by knife in that Leahy left the scene and returned with one.

He said further aggravating factors were the level of violence used and his attempt to get his girlfriend to corroborate his lying.

Mr Justice Carney said the mitigating factors were “not easy to find” but took account of the fact that Leahy had offered a plea of guilty to manslaughter.

Previously Sergeant Simon Grace told Mr Paul Burns SC prosecuting that Mr Daly asked if he could visit Leahy at his home in Sirius House on the understanding he did not drink too much.

Mr Daly who was drinking vodka unbeknownst to Leahy was getting agitated so Leahy tried to get him a taxi and tried to persuade his girlfriend Rachel Daunt not to come home.

When Ms Daunt returned home Mr Daly threatened to smash her brains in and was reaching into her car to try and grab her.

Leahy then left and went into his apartment where he got a large kitchen knife and returned to the scene.

There was evidence that Mr Daly tried to run away but Leahy but stabbed him 15 times, the court heard.

Dr Margaret Bolster said there were 12 wounds to the thorax suggesting Mr Daly was immobile when the knife penetrated his body.

Leahy called the ambulance and told the controller that his cousin had a knife and had attacked him first.

He was interviewed by gardai a number of times and said he had killed Mr Daly who had produced the knife first.

In the fifth interview Leahy admitted getting the knife and said he had “snapped and lost the plot”.

The court heard Mr Daly who was unemployed was in a long-term relationship and had one child and had one stepchild.

Leahy has 16 previous convictions including a five-month suspended sentence for drink driving, the court heard.

The court heard Leahy has one child and had joined the army when he was 17 years old reaching the rank of 3-star private.

Under cross-examination Sgt Grace agreed with Mr Thomas Creed that Leahy had moved away from his cousin in Knocknaheeny.

He further agreed Leahy and Daly had a good relationship but that the deceased had issues with alcohol.

The court heard Leahy was drinking moderately but Mr Daly had a blood alcohol level of 296ml per cent.

Mr Creed said Leahy joined the army in 2005 and received a honourable discharge and won an award of Best Tactical Soldier.

He said his client had offered a plea of manslaughter and that Sgt Grace had accepted he was remorseful.

A victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of the deceased’s stepfather Timothy Daly in which he described him as a caring person who would “do anything for anyone”. “We never had to ask him twice to do anything,” he said.

“He is an awful loss to everyone…my head is all over the place knowing he is gone,” he said.

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