Saturday 18 November 2017

Parents of man stabbed to death brand justice system 'a joke' after killer jailed for five years

Marion and Frank Conroy parents of deceased Peter Conroy (right)
Marion and Frank Conroy parents of deceased Peter Conroy (right)

Peter Doyle

THE grieving parents of a man stabbed to death during a brawl inside a bed and breakfast branded the justice system a ‘joke’ after their son’s killer was jailed for five years.

Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) had originally been charged with the murder of Peter Conroy (25), at Palmerstown Lodge B&B, Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 on June 9, 2015.

His plea of guilty to manslaughter and not guilty to murder was rejected by the State and last December Connors was convicted by a jury of Mr Conroy’s manslaughter after a one-week trial.

Today, at the Central Criminal Court, Connors, of Drumcairn Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin 24, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, with the last two suspended, for killing Mr Conroy.

Victims parents pictured Marion and Frank Conroy pictured outside Dublin central criminal court following the sentence of Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) Pic Collins Courts
Victims parents pictured Marion and Frank Conroy pictured outside Dublin central criminal court following the sentence of Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) Pic Collins Courts

Speaking outside court, the dead man’s parents, Frank and Marion Conroy, broke down as they criticised the sentence handed down by Mr Justice Paul Butler.

Mr Conroy said: "Peter was a loving son. He was a rock to us. He was a loving father. He didn’t deserve to be killed the way he was killed. He got no justice. Seven years, with two suspended for another person’s life. Where’s the justice in that? He (Connors) stabbed him four times and he got manslaughter."

Wiping away tears, Mrs Conroy added: “How can you put a time on a person? Where’s is the justice? The justice system is a fucking joke in this country. In any other country, he’d get more. You get more for robbing that you would for murder. His kids can see him walking around, go visit him. We will never see our son again.”

Earlier, Mr Justice Butler was forced to adjourn the hearing when friends and relatives of the dead man reacted angrily when the sentence was delivered.

Gardai were forced to remove several people from the courtroom after one women shouted: “He (Connors) is laughing in our faces,” and one man rushed at the accused sitting in the dock.

Another woman sitting in the public gallery was heard shouting at Connors: “If he smiles once more, I’ll f****g punch him.”

During his trial, the court was told Connors had believed his children were in danger as the fighting between guests of the B&B and non-residents intensified when he fatally stabbed his victim.

Delivering his sentence, the Mr Justice Butler said that although the accused had returned to the scene of the brawl with a knife and was “seen to make a downwards motion towards the deceased” on CCTV, “the killing lacked the intention of a murder conviction”.

Victims parents pictured Marion and Frank Conroy pictured outside Dublin central criminal court following the sentence of Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) of Drumcairn Avenue. Pic Collins Courts
Victims parents pictured Marion and Frank Conroy pictured outside Dublin central criminal court following the sentence of Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) of Drumcairn Avenue. Pic Collins Courts

The judge said the accused, whom he described as being from “a travelling background”, had “expressed remorse from the bottom of his heart”.

However, he said the fact that Connors returned to the scene of the fight with a knife had been an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Connors was also sentenced to two months’ jail for assaulting a woman, Elaine Blunt, during the same brawl. The judge suspended this sentence in full.

The manslaughter sentence was backdated to October 1, 2015.

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