A 20-year-old Waterford man has been found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2012 murder of Martin Brophy.
William Moran of Connolly Place, Waterford City was charged with murdering Martin Brophy (22) at the old Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) building between May 19th and May 21st 2012.
Mr Moran had pleaded not guilty to the charge at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.
The family of the deceased were in tears as the jury of three women and seven men delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty after eight hours and 38 minutes.
The five-week trial heard that the deceased died of blunt force trauma to the head, which could have been due to kicking, stamping or stomping.
Gavin Walsh (21) testified on February 17th that he and William Moran went to what he described as "the warehouse" with two females on Saturday, May 19th, 2012.
The court heard that Mr Brophy, who was also known as Skip, was sleeping on a metal step when they arrived.
“There was a trolley hanging from the ceiling and a metal step that your man [Mr Brophy] was sleeping on,” he said, explaining that this grey step was like a bench.
“I didn’t know him, but I was in the warehouse before and he was there,” he said of the deceased. “William was calling him Skip.”
“William Moran ended up waking him,” he continued. “He started banging his foot off the metal yoke. He woke up in a bit of a fright, kind of jumped up and told William to go away.”
He said that one of the females “calmed the two boys down” and that they all sat down and drank cider for at least an hour. The girls eventually went home.
He said that Mr Brophy later said that Mr Moran's cousin, Ray Connolly, had threatened his [Mr Brophy's] sister with a knife. He said that Mr Moran denied this, but that Mr Brophy told him to get his cousin on the phone and tell him to "come down here".
He said that Mr Moran did ring his cousin and put him on loudspeaker.
“Skip [the deceased] shouted into the phone that he’d slice Ray’s throat if he came down,” he said.
Mr Walsh said that the conversation between the accused and his cousin continued after he took him off loudspeaker and that Mr Moran then told the witness what he had said to his cousin.
“He said if me and William give Skip a beating, will you sort us out with a few Es, drugs,” he testified. “I said: ‘No, he’s too drunk’. William said: ‘I’ll do it myself’.”
The jury heard that the accused went behind Mr Brophy and dragged him. Mr Walsh testified: “he started kicking him severely in the head. He dragged him up to the metal thing and put his teeth on it,” he continued.
"He said: 'This is out of American History X', a film, and then stamped on his head with his Timberland boot."
The court heard that a Facebook message sent from the Facebook page of William Moran on May 20th, 2012, said: "I gave that fella an old bad one. He said he was gonna slit my cousins throat — I think he is dead no word of a lie".
Dr Khalid Jabbar testified that he was the Deputy State Pathologist when called to the scene on May 22nd, 2012.
Dr Jabbar said Mr Brophy’s body was lying on its left side by a pool of blood and that there was blood on the right side of the face.
Next to the body, there was a blood-stained metal locker and part of a concrete block, which was also blood-stained.
“This trauma was made up of multiple fractures and included a hinge fracture running from one side to the other”, he said.
He gave the opinion that Mr Brophy had died of significant, acute, craniocerebral traumatic injuries due to blunt force trauma inflicted to the head.
“This could have been caused by kicking, stamping or stomping”, he said.
Dr Jabbar felt that death was rapid but not instantaneous.
Speaking outside court, father of the deceased, Michael Brophy said the family were happy with the verdict.
“We are very happy — it’s been a traumatic six weeks. There is nothing to be celebrated. There are no winners or losers,” he said.
“A young man who is a little thug has gone to prison. I would like to thank the gardaí for taking care and looking after us. It has brought some closure. Now we’d like to try and get on with what we have,” he concluded.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy exempted the jury from service for life and imposed the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.