Man who admits Christmas Eve killing now lives with deceased's widow and child

Man who admits Christmas Eve killing now lives with deceased's widow and child
David Shanley

A man who admitted killing a 42-year-old man on Christmas Eve two years ago is living with the deceased's widow and child, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

David Shanley (aged 47) of Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co Wexford pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of John Lawlor on December 24 or 25, 2014 at Ballinatray Lower, Courtown Harbour.

Last month, counsel for the prosecution John O'Kelly SC said the plea of guilty to manslaughter was accepted by the State.

Counsel for Shanley Patrick Gageby SC added at the time that there was a "complex inter-family relationship at play" in the case.

When Shanley pleaded guilty six weeks ago it was agreed that he would be allowed remain on continuing bail until today, when a probation report would be produced.

However, the court heard today that the probation officer had not finished his report and so sentencing was deferred.

Today the prosecution called Detective Sergeant Murt Whelan from Enniscorthy Garda Station to give evidence.

Det Sgt Whelan told the court that Shanley has been on bail from the High Court since he was initially charged with the offence in December 2014.

"Mr Shanley was previously found to be in breach of his bail conditions which were issued by the High Court. The terms of bail was that he would reside at his parent's address but I became aware that he was residing at the address of his partner which was outside Gorey in Co Wexford," he said.

The court heard that Shanley's current partner is the deceased's widow. Also residing in the house is the deceased's daughter.

Det Sgt Whelan said the matter was "complicated" as Shanley's partner is receiving ongoing treatment in hospital.

Shanley is a carer for his partner who has "serious health problems".

Det Sgt Whelan told the court that the case was then re-listed in the High Court and Shanley's bail terms were varied.

"Mr Shanley was allowed reside at his partner's to facilitate treatment but when she was an inpatient at the hospital he was to reside at his parent's address. There was also sign-on conditions," he said.

The court heard that Shanley is also living in close proximity to the deceased's family which "causes difficulties".

Mr Gageby explained that his client had no previous convictions and he accepted that this was a case which "had to go one way as there had been a loss of life".

Prosecuting counsel told the court that the deceased's family were "anxious" that the matter would be dealt with as the accused was living in the same village in Co Wexford as them.

Mr Justice Paul Butler said that Shanley had been convicted of the unlawful killing of another human being and it seemed to him that he was entitled to the benefit of a probation report.

"Obviously his bail conditions are open to question but that has been set by a judge of this court. I have to put it back to allow him to get this probation report but in the meantime it seems there should be an application to vary the bail conditions," he said.

The judge said he was not happy about Shanley's bail conditions but he did not want to interfere with the bail judge who dealt with this.

"It would be highly desirable if the prosecution and defence got together and sorted out the best scheme to determine the bail conditions," he added.

The matter was adjourned until next Thursday morning.

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