'Don't worry, it's only an extra few years,' says teenager as he is convicted of best friend's murder

A jury has found a teenager guilty of murder for stabbing his best friend to death.

The six men and six women recorded a majority 11 to one verdict that Graham McEvoy, aged 19, of Captain's Road in Crumlin murdered Paul "Paulie" Curran, aged 23, at Seagull House on Crumlin Road in Dublin on July 16, 2016.

Mr McEvoy pleaded guilty to manslaughter but his plea was rejected and he underwent a week-long trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Garda preserve the scene at Seagull House on Rutland Avenue in Crumlin last year. Photo: Collins

It took the jury over eight hours to reach their majority verdict, shortly before 3pm this afternoon. Justice Patrick McCarthy thanked them and exempted them from jury service for 10 years. Prosecuting counsel Pieter LeVert BL asked for time for a statement to be prepared by the victim's family so Justice Patrick McCarthy adjourned sentencing until tomorrow.

Having been found guilty of murder McEvoy will receive a mandatory life sentence.

Following the verdict members of McEvoy's family hugged him and broke down in tears.

As he was led away he told them: "Don't worry, it's only an extra few years".

The trial heard from Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan that Mr Curran was stabbed at least six times with the fatal wound entering under the left armpit and going through the upper lobe of the left lung. This wound, at a depth of nine or 10 centimetres, caused significant bleeding and collapse of the left lung leading to respiratory collapse and death.

Blood loss through other wounds to the backs of his legs contributed to his death while an incised wound to his left forearm was most likely a defensive injury. The injuries to his legs appeared to travel in an upward direction, suggesting that the deceased was at a higher level, such as on a stairs, when those wounds were inflicted.

During garda interviews, McEvoy said he met the deceased at Seagull House to sell him half an ounce of cocaine, but when he asked for his money Mr Curran pulled a knife and tried to slash him. In the scuffle that followed they slipped to the floor and McEvoy said he took the knife from Mr Curran and stabbed him.

His barrister Barry White SC argued that McEvoy was acting in self defence but used excessive force and should therefore be convicted of manslaughter and not murder.

The prosecution said the three knife wounds to the backs of Mr Curran's legs, that the pathologist said went in an upward direction, showed that the deceased was trying to get away rather than scuffling on the ground. The prosecution also pointed to the evidence of a teenage girl who said McEvoy called her earlier that day looking for Mr Curran and said something about "nearly getting a stripe" on his face and that he "got it over Paulie".

In his charge to the jury Justice McCarthy explained that McEvoy's plea to the lesser charge meant that he accepted responsibility for the killing but that at the time he did not intend to kill or cause serious injury.

Justice McCarthy said any person is entitled to defend themselves in a way that is proportionate with the threat. But in circumstances in which the level of force used is not reasonable, the person might still not be guilty of murder.

He said the prosecution would still have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused man knew that the force used was excessive. If the prosecution had failed to prove this then the accused man should be found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.

However, if the jury was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he knew at the time that the force he was using was excessive, Justice McCarthy said they should find him guilty of murder.


KEYWORDS:

 

Most Read in Ireland