Monday 20 November 2017

Teenager gets two years in jail for killing pensioner John Golden after abuse claims

Natasha Reid

A TEENAGER has been sentenced to six years in detention with four suspended for killing a pensioner, whom he claimed sexually abused him as a child.

Brendan McGovern (19) was found guilty earlier this year of the manslaughter of 73-year-old John Golden on October 6, 2010.

McGovern admitted assaulting the pensioner at his home in Nedd, Doogarry, Killeshandra, Co Cavan.

The victim died in hospital from septicaemia and hospital-related complications just over a month after he was found unconscious under his bed.

The jury accepted that Mr Golden provoked the teenager, who has mild intellectual disabilities.

The teenager claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Golden two or three times when he was 13 or 14, and that he had cut his hours working at a local filling station in order to avoid any further contact with Mr Golden.

The trial heard that McGovern, of Killahurk, Carrigallen in Leitrim, had been drinking in a pub with friends on the night of 6th September, 2010, when he saw Mr Golden smiling in at him through the pub window.

The teenager said this made him ‘mad’ and that he went around to the pensioner's house to confront him and put a stop to what he saw as continued taunts.

The accused said that 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. He also suffered two fractured ribs and contusion of the brain.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said today that the case was unusual in that there was no victim impact statement or evidence due to the deceased having no family.

“The gravity of the case must not be diminished on this account,” he said, however.

He said that 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 last week 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 that 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 in its verdict, along with McGovern’s previous good character, strong work ethic and guilty plea.

He then suspended the final four years of the sentence on the condition that 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 request from the defence that the sentence be a detention rather than imprisonment.

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