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'Monster' free to kill nurse after avoiding jail for attack

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Brian McBarron is led away after being jailed for life yesterday for murdering his girlfriend Sara Neligan at their apartment in Dublin in June 2007

Brian McBarron is led away after being jailed for life yesterday for murdering his girlfriend Sara Neligan at their apartment in Dublin in June 2007

Brian McBarron being led from court yesterday after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Sara Neligan

Brian McBarron being led from court yesterday after being sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Sara Neligan

Gardai remove Sara Neligan's body from the Winter Garden apartments in Dublin city centre in June 2007

Gardai remove Sara Neligan's body from the Winter Garden apartments in Dublin city centre in June 2007

Sara's father Dr Maurice Neligan leaving the Central Criminal Court
yesterday

Sara's father Dr Maurice Neligan leaving the Central Criminal Court yesterday

Sara Neligan, shown at her graduation about nine years ago, was murdered in June 2007 in her apartment in Dublin

Sara Neligan, shown at her graduation about nine years ago, was murdered in June 2007 in her apartment in Dublin

Sara's brothers and sisters are shown leaving the Central Criminal Court yesterday

Sara's brothers and sisters are shown leaving the Central Criminal Court yesterday

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Brian McBarron is led away after being jailed for life yesterday for murdering his girlfriend Sara Neligan at their apartment in Dublin in June 2007

A KILLER was free to murder the daughter of a top heart surgeon after he was given a suspended sentence for a previous knife attack.

Brian McBarron (26) was yesterday given a mandatory life sentence for stabbing girlfriend Sara Neligan to death after she threatened to leave him.

Labourer McBarron -- described as "a monster" by his own mother -- was only free at the time of the murder because a judge suspended a two-year sentence for a brutal attack which left a Slovakian man fighting for his life.

Martin Prokopec was stabbed several times in the head and face by McBarron after refusing to give his attacker a cigarette.

Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, McBarron pleaded guilty to murdering nurse Sara (33), the daughter of prominent cardiac surgeon Maurice Neligan.

It was the second case in a week in which a killer could have been in custody at the time he committed a murder had a judge taken a different view on previous offences.

Last Monday the family of Sylvia Roche-Kelly reacted with fury after it emerged her killer, Gerard McGrath, had been on bail for an assault at the time of her murder.

In McBarron's case, he received his two-year suspended sentence just 18 months before he murdered Sara at the apartment they shared at the Winter Garden complex on Pearse Street in Dublin city centre on June 14, 2007.

Sara had battled drug addiction, while McBarron, who was originally from Arklow, Co Wicklow, had a problem with alcohol.

The couple had only met a few months beforehand.

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When Sara was confronted by a concerned friend about bruising on her arms, she said she planned to leave McBarron and go to Wexford.

However, when she did not arrive in Gorey as arranged, the friend contacted gardai.

Horrible

McBarron initially tried to cover up the murder by telling officers she had gone away for the weekend.

However, when gardai returned to the apartment again he admitted to them: "I have done a horrible thing."

The court heard yesterday that McBarron cut her throat and stabbed her twice in the chest with a kitchen knife. Gardai would find her lying face up on a bed and covered in blood.

In a victim impact statement, the Neligan family described Sara as "a beautiful, kind, caring and dignified young woman."

"We shall take our cherished memories of her with us all the days of our lives until we meet again in a bright and happier place," the statement read.

The defendant's mother Martha McBarron, who sat beside him yesterday, had previously told a court: "With drink he's like a monster."

In December 2005, Judge Pat McCartan gave McBarron a two-year suspended sentence at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court for assault causing actual bodily harm to Mr Prokopec, who was a barman at a nightclub in Arklow.

Mr Prokopec was on is way home in the early hours of November 1, 2004 when he bumped into McBarron on Arklow's Main Street and fell into conversation with him.

The barman gave McBarron a cigarette and went to walk away after declining to give him a second one. But McBarron ran after him with a knife and stabbed him several times in the head and face.

As well as the stab wounds, Mr Prokopec was left with fractures near his eye and cheek bone, exposed tendons on his hand and injuries to the abdomen, back and scalp.

McBarron told gardai he committed the attack after drinking 12 cans of Carlsberg.

He also had previous convictions for drink driving, criminal damage and possession of a flick knife.


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