Emotions run high as guilty verdict is read out


The sound of weeping filled courtroom 10 of the Criminal Courts of Justice as the women in the lives of murder victim Noel Fegan and his killer, Zhen Dong Zhao, absorbed the guilty verdict handed down yesterday.

Jailed for life, Zhen Dong Zhao looked on as his new bride and the sister and mother of his victim became increasingly distressed following his sentencing for a crime the court heard was “simply not in his character”.

After almost 10 hours of deliberating over three days, the jury had just found Chinese national Zhao guilty of murdering the father of two from Finglas, Dublin, in a dispute over a 70c payment for a phone call at an internet cafe in the city in May of last year.

‘Call me’ text

Fegan, a former heroin addict who had been on methadone for a decade, had gone into the shop to phone his 11-year-old daughter from whom he had received a “call me” text.

As the victim impact statements of the victim’s mother, Rose, and sister Catherine were read out in court by Det Niall O’Reilly, the women sat in the body of the court, both failing to fight back their grief.

Catherine Fegan said her family had been left devastated by her brother’s killing and they would never get over it. “The thing that haunts us as a family is that we never got to say goodbye or to tell him how much we loved him.”

Rose Fegan said she could not come to terms with the fact she would never see or speak to her son again.

“He was a loving son and I was proud of him turning his life around. He was the type of son who couldn’t do enough for you, a very a soft person. He was always talking about his children.”

The killer’s wife, Zhu Bai, then gave evidence of the previous good character of the man she married just 10 weeks ago, as they waited for him to go on trial for his life.

Holding her hands over her eyes and mouth in an effort to hold back her sobbing, she said her husband was sorry for what he had done.

She said she would wait for him no matter how long he was in prison.

Brendan Grehan SC, for Zhao, told Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at the Central Criminal Court that up until seconds before his client overreacted so violently and with such devastating consequences, there was no indication he was capable of lashing out in that way he had.