A man has been found guilty of the murder of John Lowe (60) at his home in Portlaw, Co Waterford, on December 13th, 2018.
Earlier this week a jury unanimously found Stephen Keane (30), of Coolfin Meadows, Portlaw, guilty after a trial that lasted almost two weeks, according to the Waterford News & Star.
Mr Keane had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but not guilty of Mr Lowe's murder.
According to evidence, Mr Keane claimed he was involved in an argument with Mr Lowe over an alleged theft of money from a “silver box”.
He claimed to have hit Mr Lowe with “one punch”, adding that he “knew he had killed him because he caught him clean”.
Mr Keane also claimed that Mr Lowe came at him with a knife. Gardaí did not find a silver box or a knife. Mr Keane was seen on the day of the murder by witnesses who described his behaviour as “odd”.
One of the witnesses, Danny Bergin, saw Mr Keane at 1.15pm on December 13th and that he “looked a bit tired” and that his “hands were swollen”.
Barbara O'Mahony said she drove past Mr Keane as he stepped out onto the road in front of her. She said he “looked intoxicated” and was swaying from side to side.
Another witness, Des Kelly, said Mr Keane called to his home shortly after 1pm on December 13th, but he refused to let him in as Mr Kelly was acting strangely and his fists were bloody.
The defence, led by Colman Cody SC, claimed Mr Keane was too intoxicated at the time of the murder to have killed Mr Lowe intentionally.
They also highlighted evidence showing that Mr Keane had attempted to resuscitate Mr Lowe, attempting to disprove intent of murder. The jury heard that Mr Keane returned to the scene with his mother after initially leaving and were played the 999 call, which lasted 24 minutes, during which the emergency medical call taker was talking Mr Keane and his mother through CPR, including the use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis provided evidence which showed Mr Lowe suffered “multiple wounds” with the fatal blow striking the “underside of the left ear” after hitting an important artery. This contradicted Mr Keane's claim that he only hit the victim once.
After he was arrested, Mr Keane was taken to University Hospital Waterford to receive bandages on his swollen hands.
The jury heard that Mr Keane said he would never intentionally murder Mr Lowe as he was his “only friend in the world”.
Jury deliberations took a total of four hours and three minutes before reaching their verdict.
Mr Keane is due to be sentenced on June 14th.