A man has been jailed for life at the Central
for the murder of a father of one in north Dublin.
Andrew Gibney (21), Drumheath Avenue, Mulhuddart had pleaded not guilty to murdering Gerard Burnett (28) at Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart, on August 21st, 2012.
Mr Burnett suffered 30 stab wounds after he was attacked by a group of men outside his girlfriend’s house and was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.
Gibney told gardaí that Mr Burnett had stabbed him in the shoulder with a screwdriver four years previously, but they had since made amends.
The jury of nine men and three women returned a majority 10-2 guilty verdict yesterday after 4½ hours. Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced him to life imprisonment, backdating it to August 28th, 2012, for time spent in custody.
The prosecution’s case was that Gibney was part of a joint enterprise to murder Mr Burnett. Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, told the jury Gibney was one of five men who went to Mr Burnett’s house in Castlecurragh Avenue shortly before midnight.
Mr Burnett sold ecstasy and – if the off-licence was shut – wine, but people would usually ring before calling up to the house, the court heard.
Two of the men were armed with knives and when the doorbell rang, Mr Burnett opened the door and was set upon.
A week later, Gibney's house was searched by gardaí and the next day he visited Blanchardstown Garda station where he admitted stabbing Mr Burnett three times in the side. "I was involved in an incident. The chap is dead now and I need to give him peace," Gibney told gardaí.
He told gardaí he had decided to go to Mr Burnett’s house about half an hour earlier and that the events were triggered by alcohol. Gibney said he got the knife from his house, then ran back home after the incident and washed the blade in his kitchen.
Mr Burnett’s partner Denise Farrell told Mr O’Connell she was in the house that night and that their son was in bed asleep.
She said the doorbell rang and she told Mr Burnett not to answer it, but he did. She said she saw three men at the door and there was some sort of knife in one of the men’s hands.
Ms Farrell said that after Mr Burnett was dragged outside, she closed the door behind them. She ran upstairs to get her child before leaving the house through the back door and climbing over the garden fence.
A statement from Lee Dalton, who was drinking with the group involved in the incident on that night, was read to the court during the trial. Mr Dalton said a group of men were drinking in Gibney’s home and they decided to go up to Mr Burnett’s house as he sold alcohol.
He said in his statement Gibney took a knife with a silver blade and silver handle to use if Mr Burnett "got smart".
Mr Dalton said he went home and his mother would not let him leave the house. He said he woke up at midday the next day and heard that Mr Burnett had been stabbed.
Mr Dalton said in his statement that Gibney denied any involvement in the stabbing of Mr Burnett. He said Gibney told him “he had no bad feelings towards Gerard Burnett”.
State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy said there were 30 wounds to Mr Burnett’s head and body, six of which were deep and fatal. She said the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and blood loss due to injuries to the right lung, heart and liver.
She said Mr Burnett would have been capable of struggling with an assailant for a short time after the attack.