herald

Monday 21 May 2018

Man gets life for murder of 'exceptional human being' who died saving his pal's life

Catherine Carolan, the mother of murdered Leo Carolan is comforted outside court by her other son, Alex, after Leo’s killer was sentenced. Photo: Collins Courts
Catherine Carolan, the mother of murdered Leo Carolan is comforted outside court by her other son, Alex, after Leo’s killer was sentenced. Photo: Collins Courts
Leo Carolan

A 24-year-old Dublin man has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a student who was "saving the life" of his friend.

Charles Cleary was also given a concurrent 15-year jail term for the attempted murder of that friend.

Cleary, of no fixed abode but from the Rathfarnham area, had been attempting to rob surviving victim Ludovic Thomas, who had arrived at the deceased man's flat with €14,000 he had withdrawn from a bank.

Cleary pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the murder of Leo Carolan (25) and the attempted murder of Swiss student Mr Thomas (now 26) at the flat on the South Circular Road, on October 4, 2016.

Knife

Detective Inspector David Harrington said that Mr Carolan, a music student at IADT, Dun Laoghaire, had described the accused, also a student at the time, as a "passing acquaintance".

Mr Thomas had arranged to visit Mr Carolan on the day of the murder, and Cleary was there when he arrived.

Mr Thomas had €14,000 cash he had withdrawn from a bank, and asked Mr Carolan for an envelope for the money.

While Mr Carolan was getting one, Cleary decided to steal the cash. He picked up a butterfly knife and stabbed Mr Thomas around his abdomen and mouth.

When Mr Carolan returned, Cleary turned his attention to him, giving Mr Thomas time to escape out on to the South Circular Road, covered in blood and holding the knife.

Cleary armed himself with another knife and stabbed Mr Carolan 12 times, severing his jugular vein and piercing his heart and both lungs.

Mr Thomas was rushed to hospital with multiple knife wounds.

Cleary made his way to Camden Street covered in blood and got shoes and clothes, before going to Dundrum to do some shopping. He saw friends that evening, paid off his credit union loan the next morning and took the ferry to Holyhead.

He returned to Dublin days later and was arrested, eventually admitting the crimes, which he said were governed by "a sudden impulse" to take the money.

Mr Carolan's mother, Catherine, delivered an emotional victim impact statement.

"He was an exceptional human being. He always hoped for a better world for mankind," she said.

"Life was taken from him in such a brutal and traumatic manner. Leo died saving his friend's life. When I heard the news of his murder I screamed.

"Fifteen months later I'm still screaming."

A statement was read on behalf of Mr Thomas, who said he had developed trust issues, paranoia and depression as a result of the attack, and has nightmares of Cleary coming out of jail and murdering everyone.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed a mandatory life sentence for murder and 15 years for the attempted murder. He took the robbery into account.

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