Wednesday 17 January 2018

Teen haunted by nightmares about uncle he knifed to death

Ralph Riegel

A TEENAGER who stabbed and killed his uncle after an alcohol and drug-fuelled row is now haunted by nightmares of the dead man.

Christopher Ruby (18) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his uncle, Shannon Ruby (30), last year.

The teenager was initially charged with the murder of his uncle. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) accepted a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter earlier this year after it found there was provocation in the case.

Ruby pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his uncle at Ard na Greine, Station Road, Blarney, Co Cork, on September 26, 2009.

Mr Justice Paul Carney heard that Shannon Ruby died from stab wounds, one of which pierced the upper left side of his chest. Another pierced both his heart and his liver.

Mr Ruby was pronounced dead before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

The victim, who was originally from Blarney, had been living for a number of years in Youghal with his partner, Nora Harty. He was the father of a young daughter, Ann.

The tragedy unfolded when Shannon and his partner travelled to Blarney to visit friends in the Ard na Greine estate. While there, he met up with his nephew, Christopher, who lived in the estate with his mother, Shannon's sister. Both had been drinking.

A row later erupted between the two over money and Shannon Ruby struck his nephew a number of times. Christopher was knocked to the floor and struck his head. He later told gardai he felt "belittled" by the incident.

Shannon was asked to leave the house and he immediately did so. However, Christopher ran upstairs, got a flick-knife with a jagged edge from a bedroom locker, and went down to the house where his uncle now was.

He then confronted and fatally stabbed him.

The Central Criminal Court, sitting in Cork, heard yesterday that the teen now had nightmares which featured his dead uncle.

"He has had nightmares -- he meets Shannon in these nightmares," psychiatrist Dr Brian McCaffrey explained.

He said the young man was now deeply remorseful over the tragic death of his uncle.

Dr McCaffrey said that, in one interview, Christopher said: "I feel guilt -- it will never be the same. I wish I could take it back. But there is nothing I can do. I will have to live with this for the rest of my life."

Shannon's partner, Nora Harty, said his loss had been absolutely devastating.

"Shannon will not be able to see his daughter (Ann) grow up. He has missed her first steps, he has missed her christening and he has missed her birthday.

"He had a heart of gold -- we will never get over the loss of Shannon," she said.

Mr Justice Carney pointed out that it was a serious matter. "This is not a case where a knife just happened to be there. This is a case where a knife was deliberately procured and used," he said.

He adjourned sentence in the matter until 11am this Friday.

Irish Independent

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