Kildare man gets life term for ex-partner's murder


A Kildare man who stabbed his ex-partner six times in the chest in what has been described as a “shocking, sad and outrageous death” by the presiding judge has been handed a mandatory life sentence after he was found guilty by a jury at the Central Criminal Court.

Michael McDonald was also found guilty of assault causing harm to John Lawlor (44) and is to be sentenced on this at a later date pending a victim impact report.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on both counts after two hours and 41 minutes of deliberations.

McDonald did not show any reaction when the verdicts were read out.

McDonald (51) of Barnhill, Castledermot, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Breda Cummins on May 13th, 2010, at Michael Dooley Terrace, Athy.


He had pleaded guilty on arraignment to the manslaughter of the mother of one but this plea was not accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions. McDonald further pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Lawlor of Pearse Terrace, Castledermot, at the same address on the same date.

McDonald, who has been diagnosed with alcohol dependency syndrome and schizo-affective disorder by a clinical psychiatrist and had been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs at the age of 16, had previously been in a five-year relationship with Ms Cummins, who was also an alcoholic. He had told gardaí it was a “tempestuous relationship”, and that Ms Cummins started going out with Mr Lawlor several days after the break-up.

The 13-day trial heard that McDonald, who had been drinking alcohol on the evening of the murder and had taken sleeping tablets, had brought a kitchen knife from his home in Castledermot to Michael Dooley Terrace to “rescue Breda” as he believed she wanted to return to his house. He had phoned her 13 times that evening and called gardaí to check on her at about 11pm as he believed she was in danger.


McDonald told gardaí he thought Mr Lawlor “took advantage of her when she was vulnerable”.

McDonald arrived at the house at about midnight and asked to see Ms Cummins.

Mr Lawlor and the house owner, Michael Fennell, were downstairs when Ms Cummins told McDonald to come upstairs. Mr Lawlor followed him to the bedroom.

A fight broke out between Mr Lawlor and McDonald and he was stabbed in the hand by McDonald with the knife.

After Mr Lawlor left the room to tend to his bleeding hand, McDonald turned to Ms Cummins and stabbed her six times in the chest with the kitchen knife and said, “I love you.”

“She was in fear of me. I lost the plot. I was in a rage. I said f*** you bitch, you messed up my life,” he said in a Garda interview the following day.

He said Ms Cummins was looking at him as he stabbed her and her last word was “Michael”.