Killer 'snapped' after finding man in bed with his ex

Eimear Ni Bhraonain and Conor Kane

A KILLER tattooist was on temporary release from prison when he fatally stabbed another man after finding him asleep in bed with his ex-partner.

John Flaherty (25) should have been behind bars when he killed Patrick Murphy (27) in a house in Waterford in June last year, the victim's family said.

The previous November, he had been given a three-year prison sentence, with two of those years suspended, after he slashed a man in the face in a row over money.

Yesterday, Flaherty was jailed for Mr Murphy's manslaughter -- but the victim's family said the killing "never should have happened". His sister, Belinda, described it as a "disgrace".


"He should have been in prison," she said.

Flaherty, of Ard Daire, Ferrybank, Waterford, told gardai he "snapped" after finding Mr Murphy in bed with his ex-partner and mother of his three children, Amy Quigley, at about 5am on June 20 last year.

Mr Murphy, Ms Quigley and one of the children were all asleep in a bed.

Flaherty punched Mr Murphy, went downstairs and got at least one knife and then stabbed the victim more than 30 times. A jury found Flaherty not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Murphy's sister, Belinda, expressed relief after Flaherty was handed a 10-year prison sentence. But she said she was "angry" he was free to commit the offence when he "should have been locked up".

"It should never have happened. There is something wrong with a system when someone just gets a slap on the wrist.

"The prison authorities should never have let him out, it is a disgrace," she said. Ms Murphy wants the rules changed so that another family does not suffer in the same way.

The prison service said that 90pc of inmates can apply for temporary release at any stage, with the decision based on such factors as behaviour in prison, offence committed and time remaining.

Like all prisoners, Flaherty would have been entitled to 25pc remission on his sentence.

The court heard at the sentencing hearing yesterday that Flaherty had been jailed the November before he killed Mr Murphy. He was convicted of assault causing harm after a row with a man who owed him money.

"He picked up a piece of glass and slit him in the facial area," Det Garda Fergal O'Toole told the court.

The suspended part of his original sentence was reactivated this week and Mr Justice George Birmingham yesterday imposed a 10-year sentence for Mr Murphy's manslaughter, to start when the remaining two-year term expires, but with the last two-and-a half-years suspended.


He described the attack on Mr Murphy as "quite shocking in its ferocity" and said the fact that it took place in the presence of one of Flaherty's and Ms Quigley's three children was "a very distressing aspect" of the case.

The court heard a victim impact statement from Mr Murphy's mother, Margaret, about the effect the incident had on her family, including Patrick's own six-year-old daughter, Abbey.

His death had left Mrs Murphy in "agonising pain", her statement said, and left "a huge void" in Abbey's life.

The accused was also given a two-year concurrent sentence for assaulting Ms Quigley, who was stabbed in the leg and needed stitches as a result.