Man gets four and a half years for manslaughter of brother

A Dublin man was jailed for four and a half years for the manslaughter of his younger brother at the Central Criminal Court today.

Derek McGrath (aged 36), Fortlawn Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his 23-year old brother, Anthony at Whitestown Walk, Blanchardstown, in October 2006.

Delivering his sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney said: “This is the fourth case of fratricide which I’ve had within a short space of time.

“These cases tend to arise from an alcohol-fuelled row between loving members of a family. These cases are particularly difficult both for the accused and for the family concerned.

“In this case, the family who are also the victims asked me to consider a moderate sentence on the basis of having lost one son, they do not want to lose another to a long prison sentence.

“I have to balance that consideration against the ruling of the Chief Justice that not only does voluntary consumption of alcohol and drugs afford no defence, but also affords no mitigating factors against responsibilities in society.”

Father-of-three Derek McGrath stabbed his younger brother Anthony once in the neck after a drunken row at his house during which Anthony swung a hatchet at Derek and another man.

When gardaí arrived on the scene they found Derek crouched over his brother, holding his head. He was saying “sorry” and “God let him live”.

Earlier that day, the brothers had been at a family christening. Derek had been drinking for two days and had taken cocaine and valium in the run-up to the stabbing.

The court was told that they had “a normal brother relationship” and that Derek spent most of his life fighting addiction.

The court also heard that their father had chronic alcohol problems and Derek had acted in the place of their father, looking after his two younger brothers.

A letter written by his mother Rita McGrath was also read out to the court.

Mrs McGrath said that: “Derek loved Anthony from the moment he was born. He was very protective of him. Derek tried to fill the role of father with his two younger brothers.

“Any punishment Derek receives will not be as bad as what he is going through at the moment.”

More in this Section

Warning issued to dog owners as weather set to heat upWarning issued to dog owners as weather set to heat up

Transport authority to install hand sanitiser across fleets for passengersTransport authority to install hand sanitiser across fleets for passengers

O'Sullivan has yet to decide who to back in Green Party leadership contestO'Sullivan has yet to decide who to back in Green Party leadership contest

Gardaí very concerned for welfare man, 75 missing in DublinGardaí very concerned for welfare man, 75 missing in Dublin


Make everlasting mementoes and gifts by growing and drying your own flowers, with help from expert floral artist Bex Partridge.How to dry home-grown blooms

My girlfriend and I live in a shared house, and she's excited by the idea of having sex during the day, while there are other people in the next room.Sex File: I don't like being spontaneous

Eve Kelliher talks to photographers who have used their medium to make sense of the pandemic crisisDrive-by shooters in the picture - photographers use cameras to make sense of coronavirus

Despite now being in phase one of the easing of restrictions put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19, many thousands of workers across Ireland continue to work from home and that is unlikely to change in the immediate future.Making Cents: Working from home can save you time and money

More From The Irish Examiner