Man who stabbed cousin jailed for eight years

Wed, May 9, 2012, 01:00

A DUBLIN man who stabbed his cousin to death with a flick knife he had bought for the victim as a present has been jailed for eight years at the Central Criminal Court.

Heroin addict Shane Millea (27), of Celbridge, Co Kildare, had been charged with the murder of his cousin Paul Harris (33) at the Cannonbrook estate in Lucan, Co Dublin, on December 2nd, 2010.

In March he pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Harris, which was accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The father of one was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Mr Justice Paul Carney, who suspended the final two years on the basis of Millea’s guilty plea and the condition that he “never possesses a knife in perpetuity”. He ordered that the sentence date from December 2nd, 2010.

The court heard Millea made a statement to gardaí in which he admitted stabbing Mr Harris in self defence after the deceased attacked him with an axe handle.

Det Insp Richard McDonald testified that gardaí had no evidence to counteract Millea’s version of events as there were no other witnesses.

A postmortem by Prof Marie Cassidy found Mr Harris suffered six stab wounds and that his death was due to bleeding caused by the severing of his femoral artery and injuries to his abdominal organs.

In a letter to the court, Millea wrote that what he had done “cannot be repaired” and that he could not turn back time.

He said he was sorry for what he had done, that Mr Harris had been his best friend and that he sometimes wished he had died and Paul had lived.

Mr Justice Carney said the case had been portrayed as a tragic one in which the accused had, in self defence, killed his cousin and best friend, where the friendship appeared to have been based on a deep-rooted interest in knives.

He said both the defendant and victim had convictions for possession of knives, and an “extraordinary feature” of the case was that the day before his death the deceased had been given a present of the flick knife that killed him.

In sentencing Millea, Mr Justice Carney said he took into account the inherently grave nature of the crime, the effect on the victim’s family, the fact blows were struck against Millea with a wooden axe handle, and the “multiplicity” of the blows Millea struck in response.

Speaking outside court, Mr Harris’s mother Rosemary Bond said her family did not accept Millea’s version of events and could never forgive him for what he had done.

Ms Bond called on the Government to address the level of knife crime in Dublin city, urging people to “let go of the knives” as they were “bringing destruction on to the streets of Dublin every single day”.