Convicted killer jailed for 12 years for stabbing father to death

David Fortune sentenced for killing Gerry Fortune as he watched TV in his home

The house at  Rutland Grove in Crumlin, Dublin, where David Fortune stabbed his father Gerry Fortune (62) on August 19th, 2018.

The house at Rutland Grove in Crumlin, Dublin, where David Fortune stabbed his father Gerry Fortune (62) on August 19th, 2018.

 

A convicted killer who stabbed his father to death in his home, where he “should have felt safe”, has been jailed for 12 years by a judge at the Central Criminal Court.

David Fortune (33), of Rutland Grove in Crumlin went on trial at the Central Criminal Court last year charged with murdering his father Gerry Fortune (62) on August 19th, 2018.

On the fifth day of the trial, Fortune was re-arraigned following legal discussions between the parties and he pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. The Director of Public Prosecutions accepted the plea.

Delivering sentence on Monday, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon said the deceased was “enjoying a quiet afternoon in his own home” watching the All Ireland Hurling final, when his son armed himself with a knife and stabbed him to death.

She said Gerry Fortune had shown no threat to his son and had tried to calm and reassure him when he began acting in an erratic and paranoid way following two days of heavy drinking and drug abuse.

The attack was “entirely unprovoked”, the judge said, and the deceased who worked in St James’ Hospital was unarmed and entitled to feel safe in his home.

Following the stabbing, David Fortune escaped through a window and committed a further offence when he wrestled a woman from her car and drove off. He did not seek help for his father despite the obviously serious injuries he had inflicted, the judge said.

Ms Justice Creedon further noted that this was Fortune’s second conviction for manslaughter involving the use of a knife.

He was jailed for eight years in 2006 after he fatally stabbed 31-year-old Michael Murphy outside the Buda Bar in Blanchardstown on Halloween night 2004.

Ms Justice Creedon said reports furnished to the court showed that Fortune has limited insight into his offending, has shown a limited acceptance of his responsibility, and there is a high probability for future reoffending.

Considering those factors, Ms Justice Creedon put the offence in the upper end for seriousness for manslaughter and set a headline sentence of 15 years.

After considering Fortune’s early guilty plea, his expressions of remorse, efforts to seek employment and difficult family background, she reduced that to 13 years with the final 12 months suspended on condition that he enter a bond to be of good behaviour and to engage with probation and other services.

She sentenced him to five years, to run concurrently, for unlawful seizure of a motor car. His sentence was backdated to August 2018 when Fortune first went into custody.

Michael Bowman SC, for Fortune, said his client wanted to “unreservedly apologise to his siblings and half siblings”. He never intended to kill his father, with whom he had a “strong relationship”, counsel said.

During the trial Sean Gillane SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the accused and a number of other people were in a granny flat at the rear of the house for “a day of drinking and drug taking” on the day of the fatal assault. Counsel said some of those attending had described the accused as behaving in a paranoid way.

Fortune’s half-sister, Laura Lambe, gave evidence her father had called the accused into the house for dinner and to try to calm him down.

Ms Lambe broke down as she recounted how the accused was shouting at her father: “Da, I’m going to die” and that her father replied: “You’re not going to die, son. Nobody is going to die today.”

She claimed her half-brother was “blank” and his eyes were “black” as he swung at his father with a knife and stabbed him in the neck.

The victim was rushed to hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later.