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Killer gets six years in prison for 'senseless act'

THE family of a 24-year-old man who was stabbed to death by his girlfriend's brother have described his death "as a senseless and mindless act of violence".

Former international pool player Fintan McKenna (24) of Woodlands in Balla, Castlebar, Co Mayo, was yesterday convicted of the manslaughter of his sister's partner, Francis (Frankie) Heneghan in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, in 2009.

He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Mr Heneghan, a construction worker and father-of-three, bled to death in a laneway in Kiltimagh after being stabbed 11 times.

One of the wounds penetrated his heart.

Speaking yesterday after the sentencing, Mr Heneghan's uncle Stephen Guthrie said the family found the sentence very difficult to accept.

"This was a mindless and senseless act of violence. He was left to bleed to death in a lonely laneway -- how sad is that? And they tell us six years is enough -- that is very hard to accept," he said.

Fintan McKenna was convicted in November of the manslaughter of Mr Heneghan on August 12, 2009.


At yesterday's sentencing hearing, Mr Justice John Edwards described how the tragic events of August 12, 2009, resulted from "a lethal cocktail of drink, drugs and the use of a knife" by McKenna who had no previous criminal convictions.

Earlier, in a summary of evidence in the case, Sergeant Gary Walsh said that McKenna was extremely intoxicated on the night that he stabbed Mr Heneghan. Sgt Walsh pointed out that that before he was stabbed, Mr Heneghan challenged McKenna to a fight, but McKenna refused. It was after this that McKenna armed himself with a knife.

At the time of the killing, there was tension between the pair over the victim's treatment of McKenna's sister Grace with whom Mr Heneghan had two children and was involved in a long-term relationship.

McKenna admitted to gardai that he stabbed Mr Heneghan twice in the chest in self-defence after being assaulted by him in a lane in the centre of Kiltimagh, but insisted he couldn't have killed him. A letter written by McKenna was read to the court in which he expressed sorrow for his crime. "Not a day passes without me thinking of what I have done," the letter read.

In a victim impact statement, read by Mr Heneghan's sister Yvonne Barrett, she spoke of the "raw pain, shock and disbelief that we feel as we mourn Frankie". She said that they were "paralysed by grief and pain".

Irish Independent