A 21-year-old Limerick man who was jailed for life for the murder of a Ukrainian teenager was sentenced to four years in prison for assaulting a 15 year-old youth in the same attack at the Central Criminal Court today.
Earlier this month a Central Criminal Court jury, sitting in Limerick, unanimously found John O’Loughlin (aged 21) of Cecil Street, Limerick guilty of the murder of Ukraine-born Roman Vysochan (aged 16) at the Carrig Midhe estate, Limerick on May 10, 2008.
O’Loughlin had denied the charge but pleaded guilty to assaulting another teenager, now aged 17, on the same date.
The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, told the court in a victim impact statement that the night his friend was killed and he was stabbed in the leg was the worst night of his life.
He said: "I lost a best friend as well as being stabbed myself, not only do I have a scar on my leg but also on my heart.
"I carried my friend onto the road and watched the life drain out of him, this has changed my life.
He told the court: "John O’Loughlin took my innocence that day but not only that my one true friend Roman."
The court heard the youth has fully recovered from his physical injuries and is back playing football at a competitive level.
In handing down sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney said it was unlikely he would ever forget the words of the deceased’s mother, Tetyana Vysochan, at the conclusion of the trial, earlier this month.
Ms Vysochan had told the court in a victim impact statement that the events which took place brought her, for the first time in her life, into an Irish cemetery in Limerick.
She said she was struck by all the gravestones which indicated how young many of the deceased were.
Mr Justice Carney said: "Her comments brought home the gravity of these knife attacks."
Previously, the court heard that the accused had described stabbing a 15-year-old boy in the bedroom of a house in Carraig Midhe during Garda interviews, but denied seeing Mr Vysochan in the house.
The victim of the assault gave evidence during the trial and identified the accused as the man who had stabbed him in the leg.
He told the court he was in the bedroom of a house with the deceased and two other girls when Mr O’Loughlin came into the room with a knife and stabbed him.
He then ran out of the house and a few minutes later Mr Vysochan came out holding his stomach and bleeding.
The court heard that the victim of the assault and the deceased had spent the day in the company of two of John O’Loughlin’s sisters and ended up back at their house that evening.
The accused rang one of his sisters during the evening and became concerned when he heard voices in the background.
Some time later the accused arrived at the estate by taxi with three others and when he entered the front door he saw two males run up the stairs.
He told gardaí he got a knife from a drawer in the kitchen and went upstairs with the knife up his sleeve.
He said he did not intend to use the knife but just use it to threaten those upstairs because he did not know how many there were.
When he entered the bedroom a scuffled ensued and he stabbed the youth in the leg, he denied seeing Mr Vysochan in the house.
A witness told gardaí she saw the accused stab Mr Vysochan four or five times, but in evidence said she did not remember anything she had said because she had been smoking cannabis.
Mr Justice Carney sentenced the accused to four years in prison to run concurrently with the life sentence he is currently serving.