Friday 23 February 2018

'He will never come back from the ground and she will be out in three years' - Family criticise sentence

Norma Phillips. Pic: Collins Courts
Norma Phillips. Pic: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

A sentence of three-and-a-half years for a convicted killer was criticised by the victim's family today.

Norma Phillips, 47, was convicted of manslaughter for the killing of 36-year-old Romanian national Stefan Neanu at the killer's home on the Phibsboro Road on April 12, 2015.

Ms Phillips, who is originally from Zimbabwe, was charged with murder but a jury found her guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

At the Central Criminal Court today Justice Margaret Heneghan sentenced her to three and a half years in prison with a further two years suspended. The judge backdated her sentence as she has already spent nine months in custody.

When the sentence was read out Mr Neanu's aunt Gabi Corina Tapu stood up and said "only that for the life of my baby".

Outside the court shortly afterwards she asked: "If your nephew gets killed and the person who killed your nephew gets only three years and a half, are you satisfied?"

She said her nephew was a quiet, honest person and the only bad thing he ever did was meeting Norma Phillips.

She added: "He will never come back from the ground and she will be out in three years."

Before announcing the sentence Justice Heneghan said that she was taking into account Ms Phillips's previous good character, genuine remorse and her early plea of guilty to manslaughter that was rejected by the Director of Public Prosecutions. She said that she also recognised that she had engaged with rehabilitation services.

She said aggravating factors were her initial lies to emergency services and gardai when she said that an Irishman had run into her home, stabbed Mr Neanu and then run away. When gardai later told her that Mr Neanu had died, she admitted her part in his death.

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