JAILED FOR LIFE
MANDATORY SENTENCE FOR MURDERER OF WEXFORD MAN JOHN DEASY
A 20-YEAR OLD apprentice butcher was last week jailed for life after he was found guilty last month of murdering Wexford native John Deasy ( pictured below) in Arklow in November 2009.
Anthony Farrell, of Marian Villas in Arklow, had denied murdering the 48-year-old shopkeeper and father of two at Brauders' newsagents in the County Wicklow town, after he had robbed €50 from the till.
Mr Deasy died in the doorway of the newsagents after his shop assistant, Kay O'Connor, screamed for help when Farrell appeared wearing a balaclava, wielding a kitchen knife and demanding money.
Mr Deasy ran from his overhead apartment and tried to block Farrell's escape, but Farrell stabbed him through the heart, leaving him to die in the doorway.
A Central Criminal Court jury unanimously found Farrell guilty of the murder following his trial in April. He had pleaded guilty to robbery at the outset of the trial.
Victim impact statements on behalf of Mr Deasy's ex-wife, Brianne Finn, and their two daughters. aged 13 and 16, were read out for the court during Farrell's sentencing hearing last Friday.
Ms Finn said John's 'untimely death' was a very 'difficult transition' for her and her daughters. She said John was 'a good dad' who had always stayed in the lives of his daughters following their divorce.
She described being at the scene the night John died and hoping that it was not someone local who had killed him. But in reality it was, she said, and it was very difficult to be around the town, reminded of the killing every time she passed the shop.
She said her daughters found it very difficult to pass the shop, which they had to every time they visited their grandparents.
Ms Finn described John as a hard and diligent worker who loved rugby and would frequently attend matches with his friends.
Her daughters said they loved their dad and missed him, but remembered the good times with him when he would take them swimming on holidays. His youngest daughter said 'I will never see him again, but Anthony Farrell's parents can see him again.'
In handing down sentence, Mr Justice Paul Butler described it as a 'very sad and tragic case, a robbery that led to the violent death of Mr Deasy at the hands of the accused, while he was bravely trying to defend his property and Ms O'Connor.'
While he could not allow the victim impact statements influence his sentencing, Mr Justice Butler said it was 'right that the courts and the public at large be aware of the serious consequences of crime.' He said he was particularly struck by Mr Deasy's youngest daughter who had spoke in her statement of how difficult she found it to pass the shop where her father was killed. Mr Justice Butler said his own grandparents were buried near the scene, and he too had passed the shop in the last two weeks and had felt a 'sadness for Mr Deasy and the victims.' Referring to Mr Deasy's love of rubgy, the judge said ' I will spare him a thought' during Saturday's Leinster Heineken Cup match. He also praised Mrs O'Connor for giving her evidence during the trial 'in a very strong way' and said he knew she had been particularly affected by the death.
In her victim impact statement, Mrs O'Connor said her boss was 'a good employer, easy to get on with... full of life and banter and chat with the customers... I didn't see him as my boss.'
' There is not a second of that evening I do not re-live every day' she said, saying she still sees the knife in her face, hears herself screaming for John and then sees ' his head on the doorway looking so pale, his blood flowing down the street.'
There were other victims in the case too Mr Justice Butler said, and he was very aware that Farrell was from a decent family and the crime had had a very serious affect on them.
He said however that ' they will have the facility to see their son in the future, which other victims do not.'
He sentenced Farrell to the mandatory life imprisonment for murder, and to six years for the robbery. Both sentences were backdated to April 2010 when Farrell first went into custody.
Mr Deasy's daughters embraced their mother and wept at the back of the courtroom following the sentencing.