'Monster killer taunted me', claims Daniel's aunt
The aunt of tragic Daniel McAnaspie says his murderer Richard Dekker taunted her over the phone in the days after his death.
Dublin teenager Daniel (17) - who had been in HSE care following the deaths of his parents - disappeared on February 26, 2010, from Blanchardstown, West Dublin.
His remains were discovered in a drain in Rathfeigh, Co Meath, three months later.
Between the time of his disappearance and discovery of his body, members of his extended family and friends mounted a huge search for the teenager.
During this time, his aunt Sabrina McAnaspie contacted people who Daniel knew.
One of those people was Dekker, who told her on the phone: "Daniel was a sound young fella, wasn't he?"
When Sabrina asked Dekker why he was referring to her nephew in the past tense, the killer hung up.
Sabrina said Dekker was mentioned as a suspect within hours of her nephew's disappearance.
"I got his number, I rang him and he spoke to me knowing full well that my nephew was lying in a shallow grave," she said.
"All we wanted was to bring Daniel home when we were searching for him and when I rang Dekker, he was just taunting me - the man is a monster," she said.
"When I called to his house on multiple occasions, he hid behind the curtains and wouldn't come to the door.
"We also got a few bogus phone calls from mystery callers trying to put us off, because they said we were bringing too much police attention in the Blanchardstown area - but nothing was going to stop us searching for him. We will never know the full reason why he butchered an innocent teenager.
"It haunts me to think of Daniel pleading for his life when he was being stabbed."
Dekker (30), from Blanchardstown, Dublin, was found guilty of Daniel's murder by a unanimous jury verdict last week.
Trevor Noone (28), also from Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty to manslaughter last month for his role in the boy's death.
Dekker's conviction came after more than eight hours of deliberation by the jury at the Central Criminal Court.
As Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy announced he was remanding Dekker in custody until a sentencing hearing on April 3, Daniel's relatives cheered.
One shouted: "Well done judge, well done jury," while others shouted "justice for Daniel", a slogan that had been emblazoned on their T-shirts.
Dekker himself did not react, but sat with his eyes closed.
The conviction made legal history as it was the first time a person has been retried under the Criminal Justice Procedure Act 2010, which allows the State to retry a person even after they have been acquitted.
Dekker faced trial in 2013 but was acquitted by the trial judge on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. The State went to the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.
Detective Superintendent Colm Fox, the senior investigating officer, said Daniel's murder was a "heinous act of violence against a child. Justice has been done".
It was the prosecution's case that Dekker and Noone lured him to Tolka Valley Park, where he was stabbed him to death with a blade from garden shears.