Monday 16 September 2019

Man (40) found guilty of murdering love rival after finding him in bed with partner

Murder accused Keith Connorton
Murder accused Keith Connorton
Argument: Claire McGrath was in the bedroom with Mr McKeever when her partner returned. Picture: Collins

Eoin Reynolds

A Dublin man has been found guilty of murder for stabbing his love rival to death after he came home to find him sleeping with his partner.

Keith Connorton (40) had denied murdering 32-year-old Graham McKeever at his home at Deerpark Avenue, Tallaght on February 18, 2017.

Graham McKeever (Deceased)
Graham McKeever (Deceased)

During the trial the jury heard that Connorton was living with his long-term partner Claire McGrath at Deerpark Avenue but after an argument she invited Mr McKeever to spend the night with her.

When Connorton returned home at 4am he found the two of them together and a fight broke out that resulted in Mr McKeever suffering four stab wounds including one that penetrated his heart and killed him.

The accused said he acted in self defence after Mr McKeever punched him, breaking his eye socket, and then came at him with a knife.

After deliberating for about two hours and fifty one minutes the jury of nine men and three women came back to court and asked if they could be allowed to return a majority verdict.

Argument: Claire McGrath was in the bedroom with Mr McKeever when her partner returned. Picture: Collins
Argument: Claire McGrath was in the bedroom with Mr McKeever when her partner returned. Picture: Collins

Justice Tony Hunt told them that a verdict could be returned if ten of them agreed. About ten minutes later they returned to reveal their verdict of guilty of murder by a ten to two majority.

Connorton will be sentenced to life imprisonment at a later sitting when his victim's family will have an opportunity to make a statement to the court about the impact his death has had on their lives.

Connorton showed little reaction following the verdict while members of Mr McKeever's family hugged and comforted one another.

Justice Hunt thanked the jury for their "commitment and attention" in what he said was a difficult matter.

He said it was made all the more tragic because nobody set out on that day with "anything like this in mind, but it happened." He said the difficulty of their task was etched on their faces before exempting them from jury service for 12 years and wishing them a happy Christmas.

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