Man who murdered retired soldier with sweeping brush jailed

A Limerick man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a retired soldier with a sweeping brush.

Christopher McNamara, 21, of Good Shepherd Villas, Pennywell road in Limerick had pleaded not guilty to the murder of James Boyce, 71, at St Munchins Street, St Mary’s Park in Limerick between March 6 2011 and March 7 2011.

The court heard that James Boyce had been the victim of an assault with a long striking edge and that the fatal injuries were those on his neck where multiple fractures of the larynx were found.

The two-week trial heard that Christopher McNamara had confessed killing James Boyce to his mother.

In a statement read to the jury by Micheál P O’Higgins SC, prosecuting, Pauline Whelan had asked the accused ‘did you do it son’ to which he replied ‘I did mam.’

The statement had then revealed that Mr McNamara admitted he had choked Mr Boyce with the handle of a sweeping brush demonstrating with the motion of his hands how he had done it.

The court also heard that the mother of the accused had received a 42-inch television from Mr McNamara the day after he had killed Mr Boyce.

Mr McNamara had also purchased a Toyota Corolla which he paid for with €1,100 euro in fifty euro notes believed to have been taken from Mr Boyce on the night of the murder.

The jury of five women and seven men were shown extensive CCTV footage tracing the movements of Christopher McNamara on the night of the murder.

Michael O’Higgins SC defending had asked earlier this week that the jury find his client not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Describing the case as a most unpleasant one with nastiness, Mr O’Higgins had asked that case be put it into context with evidence that Mr McNamara was out of his head on the night in question.

The jury came to a unanimous verdict of guilty after one and a half hours of deliberation. Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan thanked the jury for their punctuality, patience, care and attention to case.

Family of the deceased did not make any victim impact statement and wished to remain anonymous.

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