Monday 19 August 2019

A friend remembered

LIFE-LONG friends of Wexfordman John Deasy joined his family at the trial in Dublin last week of the Arklow youth who was convicted of killing him.

Shop owner Mr Deasy (44) was stabbed to death in November 2009 after confronting knifewielding robber Anthony Farrell (20), who denied murdering the father-of-two.

Last week, a jury at the Central Criminal Court found him guilty of the murder charge and he is now awaiting a sentence hearing on May 20, when Mr Deasy's family will have an opportunity to outline the devastating impact of his death on those closest to him.

John Deasy was born and reared in Wexford, where his elderly mother Lily, a former captain of Wexford Golf Club, still lives at Rocklands.

Along with his mother, he is survived by his daughters Sara Kate (15) and Emma (13), who regularly visit their grandmother; his brothers Declan and Kenneth, and his extended family and many friends.

One of those friends is Enniscorthy man Pechelli English, who runs Atlas School of Motoring and who first got to know John when they were young students together in St Peter's College.

Pechelli travelled to Dublin for the trial one day last week ' because I wanted to see this character and I wanted to hear some of the evidence for myself ', he said.

Other friends including Rory Conroy, another past-pupil of St Peter's, spent a few days at the court, their presence providing support to family members that included John's brothers and his young daughters.

Pechelli said it was tough listening to the evidence, especially when defence lawyers tried to present the impression that he came down the stairs armed with a knife as if he was 'going to sort this lad out.'

'If you knew John as I did, he wasn't that kind of person. If he could do anyone a turn he would. He had a knife in his hand because he was upstairs making a sandwich. Also, it was difficult to sit there, realising that the prosecution was unable to present certain evidence that you knew about and that would have helped the case.'

Father-of-four Pechelli said he was relieved when Rory Conroy texted him after the verdict came in and told him that Anthony Farrell had been convicted of murder. 'People were worried about how the verdict would go but something in my heart told me he would be convicted.'

The jury spent almost four hours deliberating on the evidence and it was a tense wait for John's family and friends who have missed him dearly during the past 18 months.

'When you saw this young defendant dressed up in a suit, he looked innocent enough, but he brought a knife with him to the shop and he was prepared to do what he did. I had no doubt in my mind that if you bring a knife, your intention is to use it if you have to.'

Pechelli and Rory Conroy played golf once a week with John who would often stop off at Pechelli's house with his daughters when he was down in Wexford visiting his mother Lily.

'He was working hard and getting his life together again. He was devoted to his daughters. Things were looking good and he had a positive attitude. For him to die like that that was terrible.'

John, whose late father, also John, was a manager of Wexford Creamery, began working with Avonmore Creamery as a sales rep after leaving school and later spent three years in Saudi Arabia as a brand manager with Masstock.

On his return, he bought the Abbey pub on the Main Street in Arklow in partnership with his friend Gerry McMahon and operated the business for a number of years.

About 15 years before his tragic death he took over the retail premises known as Brauders on the Coolgreany Road in Arklow and was known for his kind and good-natured manner behind the counter.

He is remembered by his family and friends as a generous individual who was always ready to help others and who made and kept friends easily.

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