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Mum’s tears as teenager found guilty of Magnum slaying

TEEN killer Conor Duffy stared straight ahead as the court registrar uttered the words that sealed his fate.

The 18-year-old had been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Aidan O'Kane by a 10-1 majority. There was no reaction from the teenager, who sat quietly at the side of the court as his barrister spoke on his behalf.

A few yards away, his mother, who had attended every day, dissolved into tears. She was comforted by Duffy's father, the man who had urged him to confess his involvement in the killing to gardai.

It will be a further four weeks before Duffy learns the full measure of his punishment -- he will be sentenced in April by Judge Garrett Sheehan.

It was on December 7, 2008, that Duffy had taken a gun and aimed it at 50-year-old Aidan O'Kane, following months of strife between the victim and a group of local youths in East Wall.





Soured

Duffy, who was just 16 at the time, had been among a group of youngsters who befriended O'Kane and had smoked joints in his house. Yet the unlikely friendship had soured and Duffy later found himself in a group that targeted O'Kane's house by pelting it with eggs.

On the night of December 7, 2008, the campaign of harassment became too much for Mr O'Kane, who decided to face the gang. Concealing a retractable baton in his jacket, he went outside and shouted: "I'll blast yis."

Duffy, convinced Mr O'Kane had a gun, cycled off to get a weapon he had stumbled upon a few days previously, concealed in undergrowth.





Bullet

He returned, aimed the gun and discharged one bullet. He claimed he had aimed for Mr O'Kane's leg but the bullet hit him in the chest. It was enough to trigger fatal internal injuries.

Yesterday, more than two years later, the grim saga ended with the manslaughter verdict.

The smartly dressed teenager had waited almost three hours while the jury deliberated. They returned shortly after 6pm to announce the verdict.

Duffy had also faced three other counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and having a firearm without a licence. Guilty verdicts were returned.

Having limped into each day of his trial on crutches, Duffy has been granted bail pending his sentence hearing in four weeks' time. He was due to attend a doctor's appointment to remove stitches in his foot today, and is required to sign on daily at his local garda station before returning to his parents' home by 8pm each night.

hnews@herald.ie