Man (45) faces life behind bars for murder
A MAN was last night facing a life sentence after being convicted of the murder of a young man whose battered body was found in a ditch.
John Walsh (45) was convicted last night by a Central Criminal Court jury of the murder of John McManus (25), after an eight-week trial.
Walsh remained emotionless as the 11-member jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict. He faces a mandatory life sentence.
Members of the McManus family -- who have attended the trial every day -- wept as the jury returned the verdict.
John McManus was a ward of court after suffering serious brain injuries in a road traffic accident, aged 13, in 1996. He was awarded €600,000 in damages arising from injuries, which left him only capable of living a semi-independent life.
The trial heard that the young man was desperate for cash in the final days of his life after telling his family he owed money to people -- with his parents worried that he was consorting with "dangerous people".
Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded Walsh in custody and directed that he would hear victim impact statements and deal with sentencing today.
Last week, Walsh's co-defendant and girlfriend, Gillian Purcell (34), was acquitted by direction of the judge. She walked free after the judge said that, having considered the prosecution case, he wasn't satisfied the jury could reach a safe verdict.
The State contended Walsh murdered John McManus between October 29 and November 7, 2008 at Flat 1, 3 Verdon Place, Wellington Road, Cork. Walsh vehemently denied the murder. He admitted striking Mr McManus but insisted that he acted in self-defence.
Walsh has addresses in Carrigmore Park, Ballinlough, Cork and Cork Street, Mitchelstown, Co Cork. Purcell, originally from Hollyhill in Cork city, has an address c/o the Simon Shelter, Anderson's Quay, Cork.