Dublin man found guilty of murder at fast food outlet

A Dublin man has been found guilty of the murder of a 21-year-old man in the city eight years ago and jailed for life, at the Central Criminal Court today.

The jury of seven men and four women had deliberated for 11 hours and four minutes during three days before returning their majority verdict of 10 to one.

Brian Rattigan (aged 28), Cooley Rd, Drimnagh, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Declan Gavin (aged 21) Mourne Rd, Drimnagh, at Crumlin Rd, Crumlin on August 25, 2001.

Mr Justice George Birmingham imposed the mandatory life sentence on Brian Rattigan who responded: "OK, Your Honour."

During the trial, which lasted more than four weeks, the jury heard that a crowd of young people were gathered outside and inside Abrakebabara on the night in question. Shortly after 3am, a Nissan Micra pulled up on the road outside.

One witness said he saw a young girl walk towards the car and "had words" with the person in the passenger seat before she kicked the car and walked away.

Declan Gavin then walked out of Abrakebabra and approached the car. Someone inside the car shouted: "You rat!". Then a man wearing a balaclava and carrying a large knife got out of the car and moved towards Declan Gavin.

A witness told the jury that when the man carrying the knife reached Declan Gavin he pulled down his balaclava and said: "Do you remember me?" before stabbing him.

Mr Gavin then retreated down the steps towards Abrakebabra, followed by his assailant. The assailant tried to gain access into Abrakebabra with a number of witnesses saying he "kicked the door".

Having failed to enter Abrakebabra the assailant then ran back to the Nissan Micra and the car spedoff in the direction of Dolphin’s Barn.

Gardaí and paramedics arrived at Abrakebabra shortly before 4am and found Mr Gavin lying on the floor inside Abrakebabra, bleeding heavily from the chest.

He was taken to St James’ Hospital, and pronounced dead at 5.30am.

During the trial, Det Gda Christopher O’Connor, attached to the Garda Technical Bureau, told the court he found a palm print in "what appeared to be blood" on the exterior window of Abrakebabra and matched it to the palm print of Brian Rattigan.

Det Sgt Seamus Quinn also attached to the Garda Technical Bureau, told the court he took a swab sample from four inches below the palm print matched to Brian Rattigan and DNA from that swab was later matched to DNA from Declan Gavin’s blood.

Brian Rattigan told gardaí eleven days after the killing that he had not been to Abrakebabra in "four months".

When asked by gardaí where he was on the night of the stabbing, Mr Rattigan said he was with a married woman but refused to reveal her name.

When it was put to him that a lot of people witnessed the stabbing that night, he said: "They can say what they like, but they will have to say it all in court."

Mr Justice Birmingham thanked the jury for serving on a case "of particular difficulty and sensitivity".

He said: "There would have been an expectation that their might have been eye witnesses available to this trial but for one reason or another they were not forthcoming."

Mr Justice Birmingham told the jury: "If it is any consolation the verdict you reached is one which is amply justified by the evidence."

Mr Justice Birmingham back dated Mr Rattigan’s sentence to February 2003, where Mr Rattigan has been in prison serving cumulative sentences totalling 13 years.

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