Man (24) jailed for 12 years for manslaughter of father at Junior Cert celebrations

David Brannock also sentenced for attacking three of victim’s family members

David Brannock: aggravating factors far outweighed any mitigating factors, said judge. Photograph: Collins

David Brannock: aggravating factors far outweighed any mitigating factors, said judge. Photograph: Collins

 

A 24-year-old Dublin man has been jailed for 12 years for killing a father of three with an ornamental knife, after getting into a row with his daughter at her Junior Cert celebrations.

Father-of-one David Brannock was also sentenced for attacking three of the victim’s family members on the same occasion.

He had been cleared of murdering Jason Flannery but found guilty of his manslaughter on September 13th, 2012 at St Joseph’s Way, Poppintree, Ballymun.

A Central Criminal Court jury also convicted him of causing serious harm to the deceased man’s brother-in-law, John O’Neill; and assault causing harm to Mr Flannery’s daughter, Jade Byrne, and son, Anthony Byrne. He was cleared of assault causing harm to their mother, Claire Byrne.

Brannock of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun, had pleaded not guilty to all five offences, which followed Jade Byrne’s Junior Cert result celebrations.

Mr Justice Carroll Moran noted evidence that Brannock had returned to the Byrne/Flannery home at nearby Cairn Court, after being thrown out, in order to lure its occupants outside.

Mr Flannery and Mr O’Neill each took a crutch and followed him the 100m to St Joseph’s Way, where Brannock attacked them with an ornamental knife he had received as a gift from a girlfriend. Claire, Anthony and Jade Byrne followed seconds later.

Mr Flannery died at the scene from a stab wound to the back of his neck, which penetrated his spinal cord. Two stab wounds to his stomach would have contributed to his death.

John O’Neill was stabbed about seven times. The knife damaged his vocal cord and severed the flap of skin that prevented food going into his lungs. Part of his intestine was protruding from a wound when paramedics arrived.

He had surgery, spent 10 days in a coma and a month in hospital with a tube in his throat.

Anthony Byrne received nine stitches for a head wound, which left a permanent scar. Jade Byrne received stitches for a wound to her back.

The judge said the aggravating factors far outweighed any mitigating factors, putting the manslaughter and the assault on Mr O’Neill at the most serious end of the scale.

He said that the aggravating factors included the fact that Brannock had brought a bladed weapon to the scene.

“Once a knife is brought to a scene, there’s a high probability that it’s going to be used,” he said. “If it’s used, there’s a high probability that it will have catastrophic consequences, as happened in this case.”

“Having brought the knife, he used it indiscriminately, inflicting injuries on a number of victims,” he continued. “The savagery of the attack is reflected in the serious injuries.”

He noted that Brannock had sustained only a minor injury to his finger, caused by a crutch. The killer also said that he had received a bang to his head with a bottle.

The judge took into consideration the number of victims and the fact that, of his 20 previous convictions, two were relevant.

These included one for possession of a knife and one for assault causing harm. In that case, he had hit his victim over the head with a broken bottle, breaking his jaw.

He said that the appropriate sentence for the manslaughter was 14 years with the final two suspended. He received eight years’ imprisonment for the attack on John O’Neill, three years for the attack on Anthony Byrne and two years for the assault on Jade Byrne.

Brannock had tears in his eyes as he signed a bond, which was a condition of the two-year suspension.

No member of the Byrne family was in court and Mr O’Neill did not wish to comment.