Axe murderer's appeal dismissed

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed an appeal brought by a Cork man against his conviction for murdering a man with an axe in 2002.

In 2004, Mark Allingham (aged 27), of Fr Murphy Place, Cork, was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court of murdering Gerard Hackett (aged 49) of Cork Simon Community on an unknown date between October 16-21, 2002. The jury's verdict was unanimous.

Allingham, who denied the charge and claimed he had snapped when the deceased had allegedly tried to sexually assault him, was given the mandatory life sentence by the late Mr Justice Diarmuid O'Donovan.

Today the three judge court of Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Bryan McMahon dismissed Allingham's appeal against his conviction.

During Allingham's trial the jury heard that the killing occurred after the two men, who were friends had been drinking and were most probably drunk.

In a video interview, Allingham admitted to gardaí striking Mr Hackett with an axe seven times in the head after, he alleged, the dead man tried to have sex with him at a derelict house known as The Rock, Towns Park, Midleton, Co Cork.

He told gardaí he rang 999 two days after he killed Mr Hackett, giving a false name and saying there was a dead body in a derelict house.

Evidence was also given that the victim "died from head injuries as a result of a sustained and severe assault".

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