Baby killer's sentencing adjourned


A Wicklow man who has been found guilty of killing his ex-fiancée’s three-and-a-half-month-old baby seven years ago is to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Philip Doyle (34) of Tinakilly, Aughrim, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Ross Murphy at 3 Creagh Demesne, Gorey, Co Wexford on April 5th, 2005.

But following a court ruling during the four week trial, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy directed the jury to acquit him of murder and to consider a verdict of manslaughter as he ruled the prosecution had not made a case that the jury could find, without reasonable doubt, that Doyle murdered, which is an intention to kill or cause serious harm, as they could not prove how the injuries to the baby were caused.

The jury of six men and five women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty of manslaughter after just over three hours of deliberation following the four-week trial.

Sentencing was adjourned by Mr Justice McCarthy as he said it was “an exceptional case” and he wants to consider the evidence and the victim impact statement carefully.

Ross’s mother Leona’s sister Adele read out a victim impact statement on behalf of Leona, who broke down in tears throughout the hearing, saying the death of baby Ross is “the worst nightmare.”

“We have been grieving Ross’s death for the past seven years and our hearts ache for him. We never got the chance to see who he would look life, hear his first words, see his first steps. Leona has lost a lifetime of firsts,” Adele Murphy said.

“Ross should be making his Communion now and we have few memories which are overshadowed by what Ross went through. There is only one person to blame. Nothing nor no-one will ever replace our little angel Ross.

“He had barely started his life and now Leona’s life is devastated. She is still heartbroken and there is an empty place in our hearts which will never be filled. We can’t hold or cuddle Ross anymore,” she continued.

She said every year for Ross’s birthday, Leona places a photograph of him beside a cake. She also said the family has “lost trust in mankind.”

“Leona put her trust in someone she thought would play a part in their lives and we all ask what we could have done to prevent this. The pain and heart ache will never go away and our lives will never be the same,” said Ms Murphy.

In a letter of apology to Ross’s family which was read out by defence counsel Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha, SC, on behalf of Doyle, who held his face in his hands in the dock, said:  “I want to say how very sorry I am for not telling the truth. I loved Leona and wanted to spend my life with her.

"I’ve ruined my reputation and I wish I had done things differently. I can’t turn the clock back and I will have to live with the death of Ross for the rest of my life. Nothing I can do or say will change that.”

Mr Justice McCarthy said the sentence Doyle will face next Tuesday will be based on the unlawful killing excluding the question of accidental death.

Doyle has been in custody since the jury’s verdict on May 15th.