Man who admitting stabbing wife gets life for murder

Mon, Mar 30, 2009, 01:00

A man who stabbed his wife to death in front of their three children has been given a life sentence for murder.

David Bourke (49) admitted stabbing Jean Gilbert (45) to death in front of their three children at the family home in Laverna Dale, Castleknock, Co Dublin, on August 28th, 2007, but denied murdering her.

He claimed to have been provoked by his wife's affair with Buddhist musician Robert Campion.

The jury of seven men and five women delivered the majority verdict of 11 to one after seven hours and 40 minutes of deliberation at the Central Criminal Court. They had been sent home for the weekend.

Trial judge Mr Justice Barry White advised the jury that there was only two realistic verdicts. Either Bourke was guilty of murder or he was guilty of manslaughter having been provoked beyond reason.

Bourke, who regularly broke down during the trial, displayed no emotion after the verdict was read, though he was heard muttering after the jury had left: "I don't believe it".

Wearing a blue suit, sky-blue shirt and a tie to match, Bourke was led in handcuffs through the well of the court and past Ms Gilbert's family.

Her brother Robert Gilbert had initially refused to read the victim impact statement when the trial judge Mr Justice Barry White said there were paragraphs in it which could only be addressed by professionals.

After adjourning for a few minutes, Mr Gilbert returned to the witness stand.

He described his sister as a "beautiful, blonde, young lady who lived life to the full".

She was passionate about everything she did and her most memorable achievement was to invent a pear-shaped jelly sweet free from artificial flavourings having done a third level qualification in food science.

He said each of the couple's three children, who witnessed their mother's killing, missed her in their own way and her death had a "profound effect" on them.

He said that, not only had Bourke killed her, he had done so right in front of them.

Her eldest daughter missed going on shopping trips, for coffee and trips to the hairdresser with her.

Her eldest son has repeatedly said, "I want to go home to my Mum" and missed her treats while the youngest son missed his mother's chocolate and her "one-to-ones".