Man who stabbed friend to death gets life in jail
A packed Central Criminal Court broke into applause yesterday as an unemployed man was jailed for life for stabbing one of his best friends to death after a row over phone calls.
Martin Toland (34), of Walkinstown Park, Dublin, stood and shook his head as the jury returned their majority 10-2 verdict.
He had denied murdering Alan Nolan (28) at his apartment in Cedarbrook Walk, Ballyfermot, in the early hours of September 8, 2007, and said he was acting in self-defence.
Mr Nolan received five stab wounds, including the fatal wound that penetrated his heart to a depth of 5cm.
The jury also found Mr Toland guilty on a second count of recklessly or intentionally causing serious harm to James Carroll (30) on the same date.
The accused had also denied that charge.
Mr Carroll narrowly survived after Mr Toland stabbed him in the heart and stomach.
The three men had spent the night in question drinking, taking ecstasy and playing PlayStation games and poker for money.
In the early hours of the morning, a row broke out between the accused and his friend, Mr Nolan, who accused Toland's sister of being responsible for a series of prank calls he had been receiving.
Mr Carroll told the jury that Mr Nolan had told the accused to get out of the house following the row.
He said Toland began retreating, holding a knife in front of him at all times, and as he was backing out the front door, Mr Nolan shouted "get that scumbag out".
Mr Carroll said that he could not remember what Mr Nolan said after that, but it sent the accused into "a fit of rage" and he "barged" through him, stabbing him in the process, in an effort to get to Mr Nolan.
The victim's father, Anthony Nolan, said that his family owed their "lives' gratitude" to Mr Carroll. "We owe everything to James Carroll," he said. "He was meant to live and tell what really happened."
With tears in his eyes, Mr Nolan said that justice had been done for his son and his family: "We knew he'd murdered our son all along," he said.
The judge adjourned sentencing for the second charge until March 22, when he said the court will hear victim impact statements from both Mr Nolan's family and from Mr Carroll.