THE killer of Michaela Davis stalked the 12-year-old in the weeks leading up to her murder, it was revealed yesterday.
Jonathan Byrne bombarded the schoolgirl’s phone with text messages before he strangled her to death. Today, the Herald can also disclose: Byrne (20) was forced to break off a two-month sexual ‘relationship' with Michaela when confronted about her age.
But he remained deeply infatuated with the child and continued to bombard her mobile phone with text messages. After the savage attack, Byrne carried Michaela's battered body for around 500 metres before he dumped it in undergrowth.
Sources say that Byrne "took advantage" of the 12-year-old who "looked up" to older teenagers in the area; Byrne is facing the mandatory life sentence for Michaela’s murder next month.
Byrne pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually assaulting and strangling Michaela Davis in a field near her home in Porterstown, West Dublin.
The young man, from Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, is facing a mandatory sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced next month at the Central Criminal Court.
Sources say that he and some of his associates “took advantage” of Michaela – a vulnerable child who “looked up” to older teenagers in the area where she lived.
Aged just 18 when he committed the sick crime, Byrne comes from a very decent family. He has never given an explanation as to why he murdered the schoolgirl who had been his girlfriend.
A source explained: “This is a very tragic case.
“Michaela's parents are very decent people but so are Jonathan Byrne's. In fact, he was brought to Blanchardstown Garda Station by his father just a couple of hours after her body was found where he finally admitted what he had done.
“Byrne had no previous form – it is not known why he did this. He just flipped on the night. Because of his previous relationship with the child gardai actually called to his home just a couple of hours after her parents reported her missing but he denied any knowledge of what he had done.
“At one stage gardai had decided that there was another suspect in the case but then Byrne arrived at the station with his dad.”
Byrne is now on a protection unit of Wheatfield Protection where he is being kept isolated because of fears that he will be attacked by other inmates.
It has emerged that Byrne's two-month relationship with Michaela ended when a female relative of his was approached in a local shop and informed what age the child was.
But despite major disapproval from his family, sources say that after the relationship ended, Byrne continued to bombard the girl's phone with text messages and on the night of August, 28, last year, he texted Michaela to meet him.
“He seemed to be completely and totally infatuated with her – he knew she was underage,” said a source.
The schoolgirl – who had been telling some people that she was older then she was – met her killer and was then violated “in the worst way imaginable” according to sources.
After murdering her at the playing fields on Porterstown Road, near her home in Clonsilla, Byrne then carried the girl's body for 500 metres before dumping it in undergrowth on a bank of the Royal Canal.
Yesterday Byrne, dressed in a black suit, looked forward and showed no emotion as Michaela's uncle verbally lashed out at him after he admitted his crime.
The judge remanded Byrne in custody until December 12 when a small amount of evidence will be heard before he receives a mandatory life sentence.