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Homeless man jailed for murder of 'Good Samaritan'

A HOMELESS man was jailed for life yesterday for stabbing to death a 'Good Samaritan' who took him into his home.

The family of Patrick McDonnell (57) said last night they were satisfied with the sentence.

Mr McDonnell, from Knockbridge, Co Louth, had moved to Luton in England nearly 20 years ago, and was working there as a JCB driver at the time of the attack in August 2009.

Luton Crown Court heard that Mr McDonnell had offered a bed to Clifford Nicholson (43), a homeless man, at his flat on the night of August 6 last, but Nicholson later stabbed him numerous times.

He was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

"It would have been in his nature to do something like offering a bed to someone without one," Mr McDonnell's brother, John, told the Irish Independent last night. "We heard about his death through friends. It was a terrible shock

"I think the sentence was very fair for what he (Nicholson) had done.

"We're glad that it's all over."

John McDonnell confirmed that his brother left Knockbridge in Louth and a large extended family in the early 1990s to work as a driver, and that he had two daughters -- who do not wish to be named -- living in Ireland.

"They are doing okay," he said. "They're both grown up."

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Nicholson, of no fixed abode, yesterday pleaded guilty to the murder of the father-of-two.

Handing down a life sentence, Judge Richard Foster recommended that he serve a minimum of 14 years and six months in prison.

"Patrick McDonnell was a quiet, peaceful man who offered a homeless man a spare bed," Detective Chief Inspector Sean O'Neil said afterwards.


"Within hours that person repaid this act of generosity with violence.

"Nicholson has a long history of drug abuse and mental disorder. However, he was assessed as being responsible for his actions and he accepts he is responsible with his plea of guilty to murder.

"Patrick's family has been left devastated by what has happened," he said.

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