Teenager sentenced for killing Lorcan O’Reilly at Halloween party

‘When he was stabbed in the heart that night all our hearts were broken,’ 21-year-old’s father says

Tributes to Lorcan O’Reilly at scene of killing in Dublin. File photograph: Collins

Tributes to Lorcan O’Reilly at scene of killing in Dublin. File photograph: Collins

 

A teenager (16) who fatally stabbed 21-year-old Lorcan O’Reilly in the heart at a Halloween bonfire party has been sentenced to six years’ detention with 18 months suspended.

Last November, the boy pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Mr O’Reilly’s manslaughter at the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin during the early hours of November 1st, 2015.

At Monday’s Central Criminal Court sentencing hearing, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said the teenager was guilty of “a very grave offence”.

Describing the events which led up to the stabbing, the judge said: “Approximately 23 people were congregated in the area and, during the course of the evening, an altercation occurred between the deceased and the accused.”

The judge said that during the row the accused, then 14, had a hurley but left the scene after it was taken from him by Mr O’Reilly.

The boy, who is now aged 16 and cannot be named due to his age, returned a short time later with a knife and struck Mr O’Reilly in the chest .

Victim impact report

Mr Justice McCarthy said the offence of manslaughter is “rendered far more serious when a knife is introduced into the equation and this is what the accused did”.

Referring to last week’s “deeply affecting” victim impact report from Mr O’Reilly’s father, Paddy Rooney, the judge said he felt one phrase had summed up the family’s loss.

He said: “And I quote, ‘When he was stabbed in the heart that night it was all our hearts that were broken’.”

He said that eight years would have been the appropriate sentence for this offence. But due to the accused’s early guilty plea, he was reducing the term by two years to six years’ detention and would suspend the last 18 months of the sentence imposed.

Mr Justice McCarthy said he was taking a number of factors into account, including the accused’s age, adding: “A judge must bear in mind sentencing is not an exercise in vengeance.”

‘Unsettled’ upbringing

The judge also noted the accused’s upbringing, which he described as “unsettled”.

He said the members of the household that the accused had grown up in were fear of “third parties” and that “there were frequent visits to the house” by gardaí.

He told the court: “At least one member of his immediate family is associated with criminal activities.”

The judge said background reports had revealed that the accused had a low IQ.

He said that the accused admitted to a psychologist to having a “short fuse” and a “tendency to lose his temper” but he had “also expressed regret and he has some understanding of the harm he has caused”.

Mr Justice McCarthy said the suspended part of the sentence would last for two years, during which time the accused must be of good behaviour.