Judge hands down life sentence for murder of Dublin man

A man has been jailed for life at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of a father-of-one in north Dublin.

Andrew Gibney (aged 21) of Drumheath Avenue, Mulhuddart had pleaded not guilty to murdering Gerard Burnett (aged 28) at Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart on August 21, 2012.

Mr Burnett suffered 30 stab wounds after he was attacked by a group of men outside his girlfriend’s house and was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.

He told gardaí that Mr Burnett stabbed him in the shoulder with a screwdriver four years previously but they had since made amends.

The jury of nine men and three women returned a majority 10-2 guilty verdict after four-and-a-half hours of deliberation.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy sentenced him to life imprisonment and backdated it to August 28, 2012 for time spent in custody.

“Mr Gibney, in light of the verdict of the jury, I hereby sentence you to imprisonment for life,” said the judge.

Mr Justice McCarthy thanked the jury before excusing them from further service for 10 years.

The prosecution’s case was that Gibney was part of a joint enterprise to murder Mr Burnett.

Mr Tom O’Connell SC prosecuting told the jury Gibney was one of five men went to Mr Burnett’s house in Castlecurragh Avenue shortly before midnight.

Mr Burnett sold ecstasy and wine to people if the off-licence was shut but that people would usually ring before calling up to the house, the court heard.

Two of the men were armed with knives and when the doorbell rang Mr Burnett opened the door he was set upon.

A week later Gibney’s house was searched by gardaí and the next day he visited Blanchardstown Garda Station where he admitted stabbing Mr Burnett three times in the side.

“I was involved in an incident, the chap is dead now and I need to give him peace,” Gibney told gardai.

He told gardaí that he decided to go to Mr Burnett’s house about a half an hour beforehand and that the events were triggered by alcohol.

When interviewed Gibney said he got the knife from his house, then ran back home after the incident and washed the blade in his kitchen.

Mr Burnett’s partner Denise Farrell told Mr O’ Connell that she was in the house that night and that their son was in bed asleep.

Ms Farrell said the doorbell rang and she told Mr Burnett not to answer it but that he did.

She said she saw three men at the door and there was some sort of knife in one of the men’s hands.

Ms Farrell said that after Mr Burnett was dragged outside, she closed the door behind them.

She ran upstairs to get her child before leaving the house through the back door and over the garden fence.

A statement of Lee Dalton, who was drinking with the group of five men involved in the incident on the night in question, was read to the court during the trial.

Mr Dalton said that a group of males were drinking in Gibney’s home and they decided to go up Mr Burnett’s house as he sold alcohol.

He said in his statement Gibney took a knife with a silver blade with a silver handle to use if Mr Burnett “got smart”.

Mr Dalton said he went home and his mother would not let him leave the house.

He said he woke up at midday the next day and heard that Mr Burnett had been stabbed.

Mr Dalton said in his statement that Gibney denied any involvement in the stabbing of Mr Burnett.

He said Gibney told him “he had no bad feelings towards Gerard Burnett”.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy gave evidence there were 30 wounds to Mr Burnett’s head and body but only six were deep and fatal.

She said the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and blood loss due to injuries to the right lung, heart and liver.

She said Mr Burnett would have been capable of struggling with an assailant for a short time after the attack.

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