Friday 15 November 2019

Painter who killed baby boy and lied to cover his tracks jailed for 11 years

Philip Doyle and baby Ross Murphy
Philip Doyle and baby Ross Murphy
Philip Doyle
Ross Murphy

Nicola Donnelly and Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A serial liar was last night starting an 11-year jail sentence for killing a helpless baby boy.

Philip Doyle was yesterday sentenced for the manslaughter of baby Ross Murphy in Gorey, Co Wexford, on April 5, 2005.

The baby was only three-and-a-half months old when he died from brain trauma suggesting he had been violently shaken.

Painter and decorator Doyle (34), from the rural Wicklow community of Tinakilly, Aughrim, was found guilty of the manslaughter of baby Ross at 3 Creagh Demesne in Gorey.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at the Central Criminal Court handed Doyle an 11-year sentence yesterday saying that "significant violence" had been inflicted on baby Ross when he was a "helpless child".

Mr Justice McCarthy also said Doyle's apology was of "no worth" as it did not "even now accept the truth".

"It was a serious case of assault manslaughter on a child. Significant violence was inflicted over a period of time and the deceased was helpless."

Doyle had also "persisted in lying" about the circumstances of the baby's injuries, he said.

"The lies aggravate this homicide in many ways," Mr Justice McCarthy added.

Doyle met the baby's mother, Leona Murphy, while she was heavily pregnant shortly after her 21st birthday. The couple then moved in together.

Baby Ross was initially taken to Wexford General Hospital on March 31, 2005, because he was "lifeless" and getting sick on the bed. He was kept in for observation because of a rash on his neck and released on Sunday, April 3.

Doyle was minding the baby at the home he shared with Ms Murphy that evening when she went out to get a DVD. Shortly afterwards she returned home and the baby was rushed to hospital again.

He was transferred to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin in the early hours of the next morning but died the next day of brain trauma.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing yesterday, Ms Murphy's sister, Adele Murphy, said the family found themselves "grieving all over again" as they learned of the baby's condition before the tragic death.

"Now knowing of the injuries he received and how tragic and painful his last days with us were, we find ourselves grieving all over again for our son, grandson, nephew and cousin. Our lives will never be the same again," she said.


Describing the baby as "Angel Ross", the family said they were "happy with the sentence" as they "got the closure" they had been waiting for.

Locals in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, yesterday described Doyle as a "Jack the lad" who never grew up. They said his movements before the trial portrayed a man without a care in the world.

Photographs were published earlier his summer of Doyle mingling with celebrities at various sporting events.

Ten months after he was charged in connection with baby Ross's death, he was snapped alongside rugby stars Brian O'Driscoll and Cian Healy, who were unaware of his identity.

Doyle also enjoyed days out at the races -- meeting former champion jockey Mick Kinane in Naas.

Irish Independent

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