herald

Saturday 18 November 2017

It was the day when justice finally caught up with David Curran for the savage double killing of Polish men

MURDERER David Curran looked frantically around the court, eyes darting from corner to corner in an apparent attempt to locate a friendly face. He was out of luck.

An entire row in the court room was taken up by the family of his co-accused, Sean Keogh.

At the other side of the room, Agnieszka Kalite, the brother of his first victim Pawel Kalite, sat rigidly and stared coldly across at him.

Of Curran's father, or indeed any familiar face, there was no sign.

It was shortly after 3pm when the knock on the door sounded, signalling that the eight women and four men of the jury had reached a decision.

It had taken them almost six hours over the course of two days to decide that Curran was indeed guilty of the savage murder of Polish men Pawel Kalite and Marius Szwajkos.

For those who had wandered off in the assumption that deliberations were continuing, there was little time to race back to Court 19.

Jigging his legs nervously, David Curran looked extremely unsettled as he waited for the verdict that would seal his fate. Beside him, his co-accused Sean Keogh had received comforting and supportive hugs from his family, who held hands as they watched the jury filing into the court.

Panicked

All eyes focused on the yellow issue paper as it passed from the hands of the jury foreman to the registrar. Curran, eyes still searching the room, appeared panicked.

First up was the charge of murdering Pawel Kalite. 'Guilty'.

The word rang clearly out across the room, met with a grim silence from spectators.

Curran, suddenly looking frail and vulnerable, dropped his head and then ran his hands through his hair in horror.

Seconds later, justice caught up with him a second time as he was found guilty by an 11-1 majority of the murder of Marius Szwajkos. Aged just 19, he had just been declared a double murderer, a dubious title to add to his earlier record of minor driving offences and drug possession.

Shockingly, he was a mere 17 years old when he targeted the innocent Pawel Kalite, ruthlessly plunging a screwdriver into his brain in a horrific display of gruesome precision.

For Pawel's loyal friend, Marius Szwajkos, it was partly a case of collateral damage. His mistake was to attempt to save his friend, but in doing so he walked straight into the path of a crazed murderer who was high on a lethal cocktail of drink and drugs.

Yesterday, as the meaning of his double conviction began to seep in, the first pitiful tears began to flow down Curran's face.

Yet if he was looking for sympathy, it certainly wasn't to be found in the courtroom.

Beside him, Sean Keogh maintained a calm exterior, his eyes glued to the registrar as he awaited his fate.

Perched in the centre of the room, his mother, siblings and friends clutched one another in anticipation as the verdict was read out.

'Not guilty' was the verdict to the charge of murdering Pawel Kalite.

Sean Keogh exhaled, but maintained a firm gaze on the issue paper.

The next words prompted a wan smile of relief as he learned that the jury had also unanimously acquitted him of the murder of Marius Szwajkos.





Collapsed

He looked over to where his family had collapsed into one another in a display of raw emotion as the tension finally dissipated.

Yet his involvement in this sorry saga is far from over, as he must return to court in two weeks to face sentencing for assaulting Pawel Kalite.

At the rear of the room, Agnieszka Kalite dissolved into quiet tears, overwhelmed at the prospect of justice for her brother after two long years. Beside her, Pawel and Marius's former employer Alan Kennedy extended a comforting arm around her.

This morning, she was once again facing an ordeal in Court 19 as she prepared to tell of her family's grief in a Victim Impact Statement.

In doing so, she would be gazing once more upon the face of a man who had ruthlessly and savagely ended her brother's life and that of his friend.

And for David Curran, this morning's sentence hearing would be the only brief reprieve from a lengthy stint in a prison cell.

hnews@herald.ie

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