Teen gets two years for killing man he claimed abused him
AN intellectually challenged teenager who killed a pensioner he claimed had sexually assaulted him as a child will spend two years in a young offenders' institution.
Brendan McGovern (19), of Killahurk, Carrigallen, Co Leitrim, was found guilty earlier this year of the manslaughter of John Golden (73) on October 6, 2010.
He was sent to St Patrick's Institution in Dublin, having received a six-year sentence but with four years suspended, after the judge said there had been "undoubted provocation".
Mr Golden died in hospital from septicaemia and hospital-related complications just over a month after he was found unconscious under his bed at his home in Need, Doogarry, Killeshandra, Co Cavan.
McGovern admitted the assault, but told the jury he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Golden two or three times when he was aged 13 to 14.
He also said he had cut his hours working at a local filling station in order to avoid any further contact with him.
The jury accepted that Mr Golden provoked the teenager, who has mild intellectual disabilities.
The trial heard McGovern had been drinking in a pub with friends on the night of September 6, 2010, when he saw Mr Golden smiling in at him through the pub window.
The teenager said this made him "mad", and he went to the pensioner's house to confront him and put a stop to what he saw as continued taunts.
The accused said he felt insulted and like a lesser person when Mr Golden pulled down his trousers and handed him a condom, saying: "Begob, you can do what you want."
The court heard that he injured Mr Golden in the rectum, scrotum and around the eyes and head. The victim also suffered two fractured ribs and contusion of the brain.
Mr Justice Paul Carney said yesterday that the case was unusual in that there was no victim impact statement or evidence due to the deceased having no family.
But he added: "The gravity of the case must not be diminished on this account."
The judge said the appropriate sentence for the crime was one of six years.
However, he said he took into account the evidence of clinical psychologist Dr Davina Walsh, who testified that McGovern's intellectual abilities lay in the borderline range between low average and mild disability.
She said his ability to foresee was limited, and he was at low risk of committing an aggressive assault in the future.
The judge also took into account what he described as "the undoubted provocation" found by the jury, along with McGovern's previous good character, work ethic and guilty plea.
He then suspended the final four years on condition the accused enter into a €1,000 bond to be of good behaviour for six years.
The teenager has been in custody since last week, and Mr Carney granted a defence request for detention rather than imprisonment.