A young man who was convicted of manslaughter was taken from his drug-addicted mother as a baby and suffered the death of both his foster parents as a child, the Central Criminal Court heard today.
Ross Allen (aged 26) from Clara, Co Offaly was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter last June for his part in the killing of Christy Daly at Bog Lane in Clara.
He will be sentenced next Wednesday, July 27.
At a sentencing hearing today, Detective Sergeant Jer Glavin told Patrick Marrinan SC that Mr Daly was beaten and shot to death beside the caravan where he lived on December 29, 2013.
He said the drug gang that Mr Allen worked for suspected that Mr Daly had found a bag of cannabis belonging to them.
The bag had been stashed on the laneway by Mr Allen but he could not find it when sent to retrieve it.
Two Dublin gang members, described by Mr Marrinan as "serious criminals", were sent for, setting in chain the events that would lead to Mr Daly's death.
Mr Allen's part in the killing was to retrieve a shotgun that he believed would be used to scare Mr Daly.
He then acted as lookout on Bog Lane while the other two men savagely beat and then shot Mr Daly eight times.
Allen said he did not know that Mr Daly would be killed and told gardai he believed he would get nothing more than a "hiding".
Defence counsel Blaise O'Carroll SC said his client's background was unsettled.
He said his biological parents were both drug addicts and as a newborn he was in "dire straits".
He was immediately taken into care but did not find a permanent home until the age of seven.
He became close to his foster father who then died of cancer on Allen's ninth birthday.
His foster mother died when he was a teenager. Despite these setbacks, Mr O'Carroll said Mr Allen had tried to lead a productive life.
He completed his junior certificate exams and then learned carpentry and worked for a local firm. In 2009 he was let go but soon found a job working in landscaping. When he lost that job in 2012 his life took a turn.
He was a cannabis user and without a proper income he became indebted to a local drug dealer.
He would do odd-jobs to repay his drug debt and "entered into a dark place," according to Mr O'Carroll.
One of those odd jobs was hiding the bag of cannabis on Bog Lane, a job that led to the death of Christy Daly.
Since the killing of Christy Daly in 2013, Mr O'Carroll said his client has become involved in a landscaping business that is highly successful.
"He is a decent human being," he said, who was sorry for what happened to Christy Daly and who revealed his role in the killing voluntarily.
He supplied a number of testimonies to Justice Patrick McCarthy, which he said show how highly he is thought of by his former employers and his partner.
He said Allen has also availed of addiction counselling while in custody and accepts that he will have to pay the price for his involvement in Mr Daly's death.
Det Sgt Glavin added that Allen has 25 previous convictions, none of which carried a custodial sentence.
Justice McCarthy said he will sentence Mr Allen on Wednesday July 27.