A man who killed his father is suffering a penalty worse than 10 life sentences, the deceased’s daughter has told the Central Criminal Court.
A sentence hearing also heard that the defendant, David Fortune, was previously jailed for eight years in 2006 for manslaughter after he fatally stabbed Michael Murphy outside a bar in Blanchardstown on Halloween night 2004.
Seán Gillane SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon that the killing of Gerry Fortune in 2018 fell in the upper end of seriousness for manslaughter and the defendant should be jailed for up to 15 years.
Michael Bowman SC, defending, said his client had a “very close bond and friendship” with his father and had “no animus whatsoever” towards him. It was, counsel said, a “tragedy of diabolical proportions” brought on by paranoia and hallucinations his client suffered after taking drugs.
He asked the court to place the offence in the mid-range and to consider suspending a portion of the sentence to allow Fortune continue his education and rehabilitation.
Fortune (33), of Rutland Grove in Crumlin, went on trial last year charged with murdering 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 pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. The DPP accepted the plea.
Leona Lambe, David Fortune’s half-sister and daughter of the deceased, told the sentence hearing that there are “no winners” regardless of the sentence imposed.
“David will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life, knowing he took the life of a man who only ever showed him love, and that is worse than 10 life sentences,” she said.
Ms Lambe said her father would not have wanted his son to go to prison or for the rest of the family to suffer such pain.
“Every family has this one person they might refer to as the glue who holds everything together. He [Gerry Fortune] was ours. He should be still here with us.”
Mr Bowman told the court that his client wants to “unreservedly apologise to his siblings and half siblings” and that he never intended to kill his father.
Mr Bowman reminded the court that witnesses had spoken of the close relationship between the men, who spoke every day.
He noted a statement from one family member, Laura Lambe, who said that Fortune looked as though he was possessed, had no idea what was going on around him and was hallucinating before he stabbed his father.
There was, Mr Bowman said, “no animus or rational motivation” for the killing and no suggestion of premeditation. He said there was evidence that his client was hallucinating and that he believed people were trying to kill him.
Mr Gillane said the aggravating factors in the case included the previous conviction for manslaughter, the use of a knife, Fortune’s failure to heed warnings to calm down and the absence of any offer of violence or provocation from the deceased.
Ms Justice Creedon adjourned sentencing until June 28th.