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Tuesday 23 October 2018

'I can't say enough how sorry I am', says knife killer jailed for 7 years

Victim Gerard Burnett. Photo: Facebook
Victim Gerard Burnett. Photo: Facebook

A Mulhuddart man who admitted stabbing a father-of-one three times has been sentenced to eight years with one suspended for manslaughter.

In a letter of apology read to the Central Criminal Court by his barrister, Andrew Gibney (25) said he would always remember the night "with deep regret and shame".

"I cannot say enough how sorry I am for this man's death. I would give anything for that night not to have happened," he added.

Gibney, of Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Gerard Burnett (28) by a jury last month.

He had denied murdering Mr Burnett at Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart, on August 21, 2012.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said he accepted the jury's verdict and the finding that Gibney did not intend to kill or cause serious injury.

Gibney told gardai that he stabbed Mr Burnett in the side three times with a knife.

He went to a garda station of his own free will a week after the killing and told officers: "I was involved in the incident. The chap is dead now and I need to give him peace."

Chief State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said Mr Burnett suffered 30 knife injuries, mostly stab wounds.

Unprovoked

She testified that the fatal injuries were six stab wounds on the right side of his chest.

The prosecution's case was that Gibney was part of a joint enterprise to murder Mr Burnett and that he was one of five men who went to his house and attacked him with knives.

The defence argued that if the evidence pointed to a reasonable possibility that Gibney intended to cause harm short of serious harm, the appropriate verdict was manslaughter.

Mr Justice Butler said Mr Burnett was subjected to an entirely unprovoked attack by a group of people who were probably armed with three knives.

One of that group was Gibney who admitted stabbing Mr Burnett three times, he said.

The judge said the technical evidence established that the three stab wounds inflicted by Gibney were not fatal, were "shallower" than the other stab wounds and they were to Mr Burnett's side.

He said that while Gibney's remorse did not help to bring Mr Burnett back, it was a very important factor.

However, he said the offence was at the higher end of manslaughter because of the viciousness of the case and the joint enterprise.

Mr Justice Butler sentenced Gibney to eight years in prison with one year suspended and backdated it to when he went into custody on August 28, 2012.

He asked that Gibney enter a bond of €100 before the prison governor to be of good behaviour.

This was the second time that Gibney had gone on trial for Mr Burnett's murder.

He was originally convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2014.

That conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal and a retrial was ordered.

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