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Sunday 20 August 2017

Family of man knifed in row over €100 tell of their life sentence as killer gets 4 years

Edward Fitzgerald’s sister Nicola O’Dea speaks to the media outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after her brother’s killer, William Gilsenan, was jailed for four years for manslaughter
Edward Fitzgerald’s sister Nicola O’Dea speaks to the media outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin after her brother’s killer, William Gilsenan, was jailed for four years for manslaughter

The family of a man stabbed to death in a row over a €100 debt have hit out at the four-year sentence for his killer.

Last month, at the Central Criminal Court​ in Dublin​, a jury found William Gilsenan (24) not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Edward Fitzgerald (29).

Sentencing Gilsenan, Mr Justice Paul Butler said he accepted the jury's decision that it was not an intentional killing.

The victim's sister, Nicola O'Dea, spoke outside the court.

"Our family are disappointed at the sentence handed down this morning," she said.

"It seems unfair that our brother's life was taken at 29 and the accused will be out before he even reaches that age. We have a life sentence to live with."

Debt

During the trial, the court heard that the killing took place at Larch Hill, Oscar Traynor Road, Santry, Dublin 17 on October 17, 2014, when Mr Fitzgerald drove up to Gilsenan's home looking for him to repay a €100 debt.

The two men argued and witnesses said Mr Fitzgerald threatened to smash up Gilsenan's home and his mother's home.

Following the row Gilsenan went into his flat and emerged some minutes later armed with a knife. He told gardai during interviews that he brought it to scare Mr Fitzgerald away, but had no intention of using it.

Back in the car park, Mr Fitzgerald called him again from the driver's seat of his car and the row reignited.

One witness, Dillon Mahady, said Mr Fitzgerald threw a punch at Gilsenan through the open passenger side window.

At that point Gilsenan walked around the car and a fight broke out, with Mr Fitzgerald kicking out from the driver's seat and Gilsenan trying to hold his legs.

During the row Gilsenan produced the knife and stabbed him twice. One wound pierced his heart and caused his death.

Earlier this month, at his sentencing hearing, Gilsenan told the court that he was ashamed of what he did.

On the same day, reading from a victim impact statement, Ms O'Dea said she and her sister had to go on with their lives, for the sake of the younger members of the family, but their parents had struggled every day.

"They have yet to sleep a night without medication since this happened," she said.

Aggravating

​Mr Justice Butler​ said yesterday that he was impressed by the fact Gilsenan had no history of violence until the killing.

An aggravating factor was that the accused brought a knife to the scene, although he did not intend to use it.

​The judge sentenced Gilsenan to six years in prison with two years suspended.

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