herald

Monday 22 May 2017

'Five years for death of our son is a joke - you get more for robbery'

Devastated parents Frank and Marion Conroy with a picture of their son, Peter, who was killed during a brawl in a B&B
Devastated parents Frank and Marion Conroy with a picture of their son, Peter, who was killed during a brawl in a B&B

The grieving parents of a man stabbed to death in a B&B brawl have branded the justice system a "joke" after his killer was jailed for five years.

Terence 'Terry' Connors (42) was originally charged with the murder of Peter Conroy (25) at Palmerstown Lodge B&B in Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown in June 2015.

His plea of guilty to manslaughter and not guilty to murder was rejected by the State.

In December, he was tried for murder but after a one-week trial he was convicted of manslaughter.

Yesterday, at the Central Criminal Court, Connors, of Drumcairn Avenue, Tallaght, was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, with the last two suspended.

Speaking outside the court, the dead man's parents, Frank and Marion Conroy, broke down as they criticised the sentence handed down.

Mr Conroy said: "Peter was a loving son. He was a rock to us. He was a loving father. He didn't deserve to be killed the way he was. He got no justice.

"Seven years, with two suspended for another person's life. Where's the justice in that? He [Connors] stabbed our son four times and he got manslaughter."

Adjourn

Wiping away the tears, Mrs Conroy added: "The justice system is a f**king joke. In any other country, he'd get more. Here, you get more for robbery than you do for murder.

"His [Connors'] kids can see him walking around. Visit him. We will never see our son again."

Earlier, Mr Justice Paul Butler was forced to adjourn the hearing when family and friends of the deceased reacted angrily when the sentence was delivered. Some were removed from the courtroom by gardai.

"He [Connors] is laughing in our faces," said one of them. Another rushed at him as he sat in the dock while a woman in the public gallery shouted: "If he [Connors] smiles once more, I'll f**king punch him."

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice Butler said that although the accused had returned to the scene of the brawl with a knife and was "seen to make a downwards motion towards the deceased" on CCTV, "the killing lacked the intention of a murder conviction".

The judge said the accused, whom he described as being from "a Travelling background", had "expressed remorse from the bottom of his heart".

However, he said the fact that Connors returned to the scene of the fight with a knife had been an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Connors was also sentenced to two months' jail for assaulting a woman during the brawl. The judge suspended this sentence in full.

The manslaughter sentence was backdated to October 1, 2015.

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