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Man stabbed 16 times after ex spread false rumour, trial told

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Victim’s ex-partner had said he was a garda informant

Victim’s ex-partner had said he was a garda informant

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Victim’s ex-partner had said he was a garda informant

A low-level drug dealer was stabbed 16 times in his Co Offaly home and set on fire after his ex-girlfriend spread a false rumour that he was a garda informant.

The victim, Ciaran Murphy (29), was found in a dog cage in his home by a passer-by, who noticed his cottage was in flames.

He was left with life-threatening injuries after he suffered 96pc burns from his neck down and multiple stab wounds, including into his heart cavity.

Yesterday, David Keena (21) was remanded in custody pending sentence later this month after he admitted he was in the cottage when an acquaintance, Shaun Groome (31), is alleged to have stabbed Mr Murphy and poured petrol over him.

Keena, of Carrig Mor, Ballynacargy, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing serious harm and criminal damage by way of arson at Mr Murphy's home on September 7, 2015.

He had 63 previous convictions, mainly for road traffic offences but he was sentenced to six years in prison in April 2017 at Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court for a drug offence.

Arrest

Anne Rowland SC, defending, said her client was accepting responsibility on the basis that he aided and abetted Mr Groome (31), of Ballinderry, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, who has yet to be prosecuted for his role as there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Mr Groome had been charged with assault causing serious harm at a sitting in Tullamore District Court in November 2015.

Detective Sergeant Caroline Lyng agreed with Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that Mr Murphy's former girlfriend was high on drugs when she informed Mr Groome that the victim was a garda informant.

Det Sgt Lyng confirmed that there was no truth at all to this but the woman was concerned that Mr Murphy was in danger of being attacked and believed that by spreading this rumour she was protecting him.

She said that Mr Murphy was known to local gardai at the time as a low-level drug dealer.

Det Sgt Lyng agreed with Ms Rowland that Mr Murphy was being supplied with drugs by a man named in court as "Mr C".

"Mr C" died unexpectedly and a drug debt of €2,500 that Mr Murphy owed him was passed on to Mr Groome.

Mr Groome then began supplying Mr Murphy with cannabis and tablets and Mr Murphy, unable to pay for the drugs or the earlier debt, gave the man one of his dogs as part-payment.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned the case to July 28 for sentence.