herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Cousin of soccer star Phelan killed in fight with dad

A COUSIN of former Irish international footballer Terry Phelan was knifed to death by his own father during a drunken family row.

Daniel Skeffington (29) was stabbed in the chest after clashing with dad Michael who became agitated as he prepared to move back to Ireland.

As Daniel lay dying, his father (64) cradled him in his arms saying: "Get up son, don't die, I didn't mean it.''

The victim, a first cousin of former Manchester City and Republic of Ireland defender Terry Phelan, was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Michael Skeffington, a former plasterer, was initially charged with murder at Manchester Crown Court.

Potatoes

But prosecutors accepted his guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility after doctors said he had become "brain damaged'' by years of drinking.

The court heard how the stabbing happened last April after the widowed father-of-10 who lived in Salford, Greater Manchester, was planning to move back to his hometown of Tubbecurry, Co Sligo, to beat his drinking problem.

Daniel and older brother David (33) had gone round to their father's house in Agnes Street, Broughton, Salford, to help him pack but he became agitated when the removal van was late turning up.

Michael, who had been drinking, threw potatoes from his plate at the kitchen wall before arguing with Daniel as David walked out of the house.

David overheard his brother shout: "Go on, go on, do it" before uttering: "He's really done it''.

David dashed back into the house to find Daniel sprawled on the floor and his father with a knife claiming: "He ran onto it, Dave, he ran onto it.''

Michael was arrested at the house. The court heard Michael had been on a "downward spiral'' of drink and depression since his wife of 40 years died in 2007. He had previously threatened Daniel and David with knives when he was drunk.

His family were said to want mercy for him.

Michael was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence for public protection and must serve a minimum of two and a half years before being considered eligible for parole.

Daniel's footballer cousin Phelan, (44) played for Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Fulham. He also made 42 appearances for Ireland. He is now living in McAndrew Bay in Dunedin, New Zealand.

hnews@herald.ie

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