Sunday 16 June 2019

Student admits murdering DJ who was stabbed to death in robbery that went wrong

Budding DJ Leo Carolan was stabbed to death
Budding DJ Leo Carolan was stabbed to death
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A STUDENT has pleaded guilty to the murder of a DJ who was stabbed to death at his Dublin home.

Charles Cleary (24), of no fixed abode but originally from the Rathfarnham area, appeared before the Central Criminal Court yesterday, where he admitted the murder of Leo Carolan.

The budding DJ was stabbed to death at his flat on the South Circular Road, Dublin 8, on October 4, 2016.

Gardai believe that Mr Carolan (24) was attacked after he confronted Cleary in his apartment.

It is understood that Cleary, who was well-known to the victim, was attempting to steal from the apartment when he was caught by Mr Carolan.


Scene of stabbing on South Circular Road, Dublin (Inset: Leo Carolan)
Scene of stabbing on South Circular Road, Dublin (Inset: Leo Carolan)

It has also emerged that the killer admitted to gardai that he stabbed Mr Carolan, and told how he "finished him off" in the flat.

"He initially stabbed him, but then attacked him again to ensure that Mr Carolan would not recover from his injuries," a source told the Herald.

Another man, Swiss national Ludovic Thomas, was left with serious knife wounds after being attacked by Cleary.

He has been charged with the assault and attempted murder of Mr Thomas, as well as robbery on the same date.

Mr Thomas was treated in St James's Hospital over a number of days owing to the seriousness of his injuries.

Prosecution counsel Patrick Gageby told the court that these charges would be disposed of on January 11, when Cleary is due to be sentenced.

Mr Gageby also asked Justice Patrick McCarthy to remand Cleary in custody.

He said the victim's family would make a statement to the court in January.

Mr Carolan was a second-year student at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, where he had been studying creative music technology.

He had been living in his apartment at South Circular Road for some time after returning from France, where he had studied anthropology at Universite Lumiere in Lyon.

At his funeral, Leo's brother Alex told how the popular DJ was born in Ireland and went to school in Straffan, Co Kildare, before moving to France when he was 11.

He lived in various parts of France before returning to Ireland a few years ago.

"I never got to see Leo much these last few years, being in different countries, but we'd always talk on the phone," Alex said.

"Even when we'd fight we'd talk like we never fought. Even after he'd punch or headbutt me we'd talk the next day.

"He'd always be there to call if you were his friend or his family.

"I can't really think of much to say. It's good to see he had so many friends and family.

"He was loved by everyone and will always be loved by everyone. It's just unfortunate we didn't get to grow old together."

His friend Emily said she learned from speaking to Leo's friends and family this week that there were so many layers to him and he was loved by all who knew him.


Pals Tara and Tasha read several tribute posts that friends of Leo from around the world wrote on Facebook in the days after his death.

Cleary fled the scene but was apprehended days later after stepping off a ferry from Holyhead at Dublin Port.

He was taken to Kevin Street Garda Station, where he was quizzed over a number of days before being charged with murdering Mr Carolan.

In the aftermath of the double stabbing, an eyewitness told the Herald how they saw a man stagger across the road from the property before collapsing on the footpath.

Basser Clkhodaior (36), who had been living in the area for the past three years, described how he saw the injured man with knife wounds being tended to.

"He wasn't talking, he was full of blood," Mr Clkhodaior said.

"I didn't know him to see. He wasn't saying anything, there was blood all over the floor.

"He looked very bad, there was blood on his face and on his clothes."

Gardai were alerted after receiving reports of a man outside an apartment on the South Circular Road with stab wounds.


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