BACKGROUND:The acquittal yesterday of Dubliner Michael Barry for the murder of Toyosi Shittabey (15) means nobody will ever go to prison for the stabbing to death of a child with a life of promise ahead of him, writes CONOR LALLY
The only other suspect in the case died from drug use last year, just hours before he was due before the courts. It was a death many gardaí suspect was suicide. Toyosi, a promising young footballer, would be 18 now and enjoying the first months of manhood.
He was an energetic and popular boy and played for the Shelbourne FC U15 soccer team. He loved to run and had competed at cross country.
As news of his shocking death on Good Friday 2010 was absorbed by the community of Tyrrelstown in west Dublin, a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered at a rally to remember him.
In the crowd were many people born and reared in the area. They were joined by the new Irish; a community united in grief standing shoulder to shoulder to quash any suggestion of racial tension after the killing of a black boy by a white man more than twice his age.
Toyosi had come to Ireland with his family from Nigeria aged only four years. By the time of his stabbing to death on April 2nd, 2010, he was a third-year student at Huntstown Community School, with a wide circle of friends.
He was with some of them on Mount Eustace Crescent on Good Friday when words were exchanged between the group – five male black teenagers and five white girls – and brothers Michael and Paul Barry.
When one of the girls asked Paul Barry (38) for a cigarette and he refused, words were exchanged and a fight broke out.The Barry brothers came out of the exchange second best.
When the teenagers ran away, the brothers went after them in a 4X4, in the apparent belief one of the group had robbed Michael Barry’s mobile phone.
When the Barrys caught up with the teenagers, another row broke out during which Paul Barry produced a knife and stabbed Toyosi in the heart.
“He stabbed me, he stabbed me,” the boy shouted before collapsing. Less than an hour later, he was dead in St James’s Hospital.
There was no suggestion Michael Barry had been the one to lash out and kill the boy. However, the State claimed he was engaged in a joint enterprise with his brother in driving him after the teenagers to engage in the row that proved fatal.
However, no evidence was furnished that he knew his brother had a knife at the time and he was acquitted of murder yesterday.
Paul Barry was due to go on trial for murder on the morning of November 7th, 2011.