A Dublin man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing 16-year-old Melanie McCarthy McNamara who was shot while sitting in car in Dublin last year.
Keith Hall (aged 24) of Kilmartin Drive, Tallaght pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms McCarthy McNamara in Tallaght on February 8, 2012.
Mr Brendan Grehan SC prosecuting told the Central Criminal Court the plea was acceptable to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Today Mr Justice Paul Carney handed down a 20-year jail-term refusing a request by defence counsel to suspend any part of the sentence and backdated it to February 21, 2012.
There was loud cheering by members of the deceased’s family who stood up after the sentence was handed down.
The court heard that father-of-one Hall was a self-confessed heroin addict with 111 previous convictions dating back to when he was 14 years old including theft, burglary, drugs and road traffic offences.
In a victim impact statement read to the court on a behalf of the family, Ms McCarthy McNamara’s godmother, Jennifer Roche, said she loved life but never had a chance to live it.
“If the person in front of us has a heart he will tell us why he took our princess away from us,” she said.
Speaking outside court she said she was pleased with the sentence handed down to Hall for the manslaughter of her goddaughter.
“It’s the best news I’ve got in my whole entire life. I’m delighted that Judge Carney found it in his comfort to give him 20 years, I’m going to celebrate for the week,” said Ms Roche.
“If he got life he’d only do 15 whereas now we know he’s doing longer,” she added.
“Melanie was perfect to us in every way. She would never say no to nobody,” she said.
“I became Melanie’s godmother at the age of 12 and she made me the proudest teenager ever,” she added.
She spoke of how she felt “shattered” after hearing the news that her goddaughter had been killed.
“It was like my world shattered, I’ll never get over it,” said Ms Roche.
“Melanie’s parents are heartbroken they’re ruined, they’ll never be right,” said Ms Roche.
The deceased’s grandmother Frances McNamara said she was “over the moon” after Hall was jailed for 20 years.
“I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him, that he was sitting right next to me and that he took our child’s life away from us – a beautiful little girl,” said Ms McNamara.
“18 months I’m sitting at that child’s grave because I pray to the almighty God that he’ll take me with her.” she said.
“Nothing will ever bring her back, but I felt we got justice for her today and I prayed so hard to us that she would make us get it and she did,” she added.