TWO men are beginning a life sentence behind bars for the brutal murder of a Brazilian man they stabbed 64 times and left to rot in a bog hole.
A jury at the Central Criminal Court deliberated for just one hour and 32 minutes before returning a unanimous verdict of guilty in the case of Wenio Rodrigues da Silva (29) and John Paul Cawley (20).
Father-of-two da Silva and Cawley, both of Ardoughter, Ballyduff, Co Kerry, had denied the murder of Bruno Lemes de Sousa at Shronowen Bog, Tullamore, Listowel, on February 16 or 17, 2012.
Cawley had pleaded guilty to manslaughter but the jury rejected his claim of diminished responsibility.
As Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan sentenced them to life imprisonment, John Paul Cawley nodded.
His co-accused appeared to be in shock.
Neither man had any support in court apart from their legal teams, and did not interact with each other throughout the trial.
Their 28-year-old Brazilian victim had been beaten with a wheel brace, tied up and held captive in the attic of the rented house in Ballyduff where he pleaded with them to spare his life and even offered them money to set him free.
His captors took pictures of him on a mobile phone that were sent to a friend of his, that showed him bleeding from the head and with swollen and purple hands.
A post-mortem revealed one of his fingers had been broken.
He was then bundled into a car and brought to a remote bog on a cold, dark February night. He was bound, bleeding and begging for his life.
He was stabbed repeatedly in a frenzy, and left to die in a drain where his badly decomposed body was found almost a month later.
Mr de Sousa had been stabbed 64 times in the face, neck, chest, arms and stomach. Tell-tale knife wounds on his bound hands revealed he had probably held these up in a futile gesture of self-defence.
Bruising on his forearms also revealed his efforts to defend himself earlier as he was being beaten with a blunt instrument.
His girlfriend, Patricia Silva, who was in the public gallery, had to endure evidence of her loved one's final hours – how he had looked terrified, and had cried and pleaded for his life.
She had last seen him on February 16 when he left their home in Gort to travel to Co Kerry to sell a car. She expected him home later that night.
Two days after his, death she received the first of 54 text messages that she initially believed to have been from Bruno, whom she had reported missing to gardai in Gort on February 18.
Yesterday, Ms Silva quietly listened to a translation of the proceedings from the court interpreter, accompanied by a close friend and a female garda from Gort.
She declined to give a victim impact statement to the court and also declined to speak to reporters following the conviction of her boyfriend's murderers. Following the verdict, she sat with her friend, letting the news sink in that finally someone had been held responsible for Bruno's killing.
Cawley's family, including his sister Sandra and brother Charlie, who were in the Ballyduff house while Mr de Sousa was held captive and later travelled to the bog where he was murdered, were absent yesterday and for most of the trial.
Both were prosecution witnesses and had given evidence against their brother and Sandra's former partner, da Silva, who was the father of one of her three children.
What never became clear throughout the trial was a plausible motive.
The jury heard Sandra Cawley's claim that Bruno had made a throwaway remark to da Silva about her, saying she sounded like she had "a sexy voice" and was "probably hot", based on a brief telephone conversation.
It was also mentioned that John Paul Cawley had agreed to buy a car from Mr de Sousa for €500 and that a row had broken out between them because he hadn't been paid.
On the opening day of the trial, the Cawley family, including their mother, had posed for pictures with Cawley in the dock that they took on their mobile phones.
Yesterday, he cut a lonely figure, on his own and apparently no longer even on speaking terms with the man with whom he had carried out the gruesome murder.