Life sentence for killing friend
A father-of-four has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting a man in the back of his neck in his apartment because he refused to leave.
Peter Donnelly (52) of The Green, Larch Hill Apartments, Santry, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Edward Flanagan (49) at the same address on June 16th, 2011.
He had also admitted possession of a Baikal 9mm automatic pistol and three rounds of ammunition at the same address on June 15th, 2011 although he had denied these charges at the start of the trial.
The jury of seven men and three women returned with an 11/1 majority verdict of guilty of murder after five hours and 20 minutes of deliberation.
Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jury for their attention before exempting them from further service for life.
He sentenced Donnelly to life imprisonment for the murder and five years on each of the other counts to run concurrently and he backdated it to June 16th, 2011 for time spent in custody.
The court heard evidence that that Donnelly and the deceased were drinking cans in field behind Belcamp College in Coolock with two other men on the day of the incident.
They later went to Donnelly’s house to continue drinking and watched two films. After the films had finished playing they listened to the radio and the deceased and Donnelly started dancing.
Gary McMahon, who was one of the other men in the apartment, said an argument started between Donnelly and Mr Flanagan. He said Donnelly was running around slagging Mr Flanagan and he recalled him saying he would shoot him.
Mr McMahon said Donnelly walked around the back of the couch, put a gun to Mr Flanagan’s head and was shouting in a rage in an English accent just before he shot him.
Gardaí had to force open the door of the apartment and emergency services tried to revive Mr Flanagan but he was later pronounced dead. The court heard Donnelly went to Coolock Garda Station voluntarily the next day and told them he discharged the gun.
Donnelly also lied to gardaí saying Mr Flanagan had brought the gun to his apartment but later admitted that he had the gun himself.
Det Shay Woods told Ms Eileen O’ Leary SC prosecuting that Donnelly has 33 previous convictions including road traffic offences, larceny, intoxication and disorderly behaviour.
When Mr Justice Carney asked him why the shooting happened as no motive had emerged during the course of the trial. Det Gda Woods told the judge it appeared Donnelly wanted the people out of his apartment and that they were refusing to leave.
Mr Patrick Marinan SC defending said it was out of character for his client who was “genuinely sorry”.
He said it was a bizarre case in that he was h best friend and his client had always resisted being categorised as an executioner. The victim’s sister Marie Flanagan described it as a brutal murder and said she did not accept that Donnelly had no recollection of what happened.
But Ms Flanagan said Donnelly and her brother were drinking buddies, not best friends as the trial had heard and that he would never get into arguments.