Christmas Eve killer will serve sentence of two and a half years

Published 29/10/2016 | 00:00

A two-and-a-half year prison sentence was imposed on Courtown man David Shanley at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday, Monday, for killing his partner's ex-husband John Lawlor, at Mr Lawlor's home on the Red Row, Riverchapel on Christmas Eve, 2014.

Mr Lawlor, (48), died from a knife wound to a varicose vein in his leg, after a row with Shanley (47), after Shanley called to his house.

A previous hearing was told a knife had pierced Mr Lawlor's varicose vein below the knee.

Earlier this month, Shanley, of Courtown Harbour, Gorey, denied murder but admitted to Mr Lawlor's manslaughter on December 24 or 25, 2014. The State had accepted his plea.

Sentencing Shanley to five years' imprisonment, with two-and-half years suspended, Mr Justice Paul Butler told the Central Criminal Court that the conviction of manslaughter could carry a life sentence.

He said the victim, who was a father of three, had been a 'much loved son, brother, father and grandfather'. However, the judge said that this offence was on the 'lower scale' for sentencing.

He added that, by his plea, the accused had eventually 'accepted responsibility for his actions' even though Shanley had originally tried to 'deflect any responsibility' by telling gardaí that the struggle with Mr Lawlor had been a 'fight for survival'.

Noting the unusual nature of the wound, 'which was just below the knee"' the judge accepted that the accused - who has been in custody since October 10 this year - could not have predicted that his actions would have had 'fatal consequences'.

As Shanley was being led away to begin his sentence, a male relative of the deceased sitting in the public gallery told the judge that the conviction 'should have been murder, not manslaughter'.

Another relative - who said she was the dead man's sister - was then led away from the court by gardai after she confronted relatives of the accused, telling them that Shanley had 'got away with murder.

Gardaí were called to Mr Lawlor's house shortly before midnight on Christmas Eve, 2014. They found Shanley lying on the ground outside Mr Lawlor's front door and the deceased slumped on the couch inside. He wasn't breathing.

In their victim impact statements two weeks ago, John Lawlor's family spoke movingly of their loss. His daughter Arlene said he was a man like no other, and had loved her unconditionally.

'He was my light in my darkest hour,' she said, adding that he has a fantastic dad and grandad.

Wexford People

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