herald

Monday 29 May 2017

'Justic for Daniel' as man convicted of murdering boy found stabbed in ditch

Killer Richard Dekker
Killer Richard Dekker

The family of a teenager whose body was found dumped in a ditch cheered after a man was found guilty of his murder.

Richard Dekker (30), from Blanchardstown, was found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict of the murder of Daniel McAnaspie at Tolka Valley Park on February 26, 2010.

The victim was in the care of the HSE and his decomposed body was found by a farmer in a seven-foot-deep drainage ditch in Rathfeigh, Co Meath, 30km from where he was killed.

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 a week-long trial and more than eight hours of deliberation by the jury at the Central Criminal Court.

Daniel McAnaspie’s family and friends cheer the verdict outside court.
Daniel McAnaspie’s family and friends cheer the verdict outside court.

Justice

When the foreman confirmed that the verdict was unanimous, at least one of Daniel's family could be heard whispering "well done, well done".

As Justice Patrick McCarthy announced he was remanding Dekker in custody until a sentencing hearing on April 3, they cheered and clapped.

One shouted, "Well done judge, well done jury", while others chanted "Justice for Daniel", a slogan emblazoned on T-shirts worn by the teenage victim's family during the trial.

Dekker did not react but sat with his eyes closed as the verdict was announced. Prison guards quickly led him away.

The conviction made legal history as it is the first time that 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 not enough evidence. The State went to the Supreme Court and used the 2010 Act to overturn that decision and try Dekker again.

Having been convicted of murder, Dekker faces a mandatory life sentence.

Outside the court, Det Supt Colm Fox, the senior investigating officer, said Daniel's murder was a "heinous act of violence against a child. Justice has been done".

During the trial, the court heard Daniel's parents were dead and he was in the care of the HSE in February 2010.

Begged

On the day he died, his carers dropped him off in Finglas so he could hang out with friends.

His curfew was 9pm, but he skipped it and went to Blanchardstown with a friend to meet two girls.

He was drinking and, according to several witnesses, was "in good form".

It was the prosecution's case that later that night, after Daniel's friends had left, Dekker and Noone lured him to Tolka Valley Park where they stabbed him to death with a single blade from a garden shears.

The only reason given for the attack was that earlier in the night Daniel had been boasting about some people he had fought.

When he mentioned having fought a relative of Noone, Noone punched Daniel once in the face, knocking him to the ground.

Daniel's friends said the pair made up immediately and shook hands.

But later in the night, acc- ording to interviews given by Dekker to gardai, Noone decided he was going to give Daniel "a hiding".

Dekker said Daniel begged for his life, but Noone insisted "he has to go" and stabbed him again and again.

Forensic scientist Dr David Casey identified 12 stab cuts on the jacket Daniel was wearing.

Former deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber said he had found multiple stab wounds to his neck and torso.

Daniel had been dead almost three months when his body was found.

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