A 27-year-old drug addict has been sentenced to nine years in prison for the manslaughter of a drug dealer whose body was found in the boot of a car after he was stabbed to death following a row over drugs.
Steven Penrose (aged 27), of no fixed abode, but formerly of Blanchardstown, Dublin, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of David Sharkey by a Central Criminal Court jury in May of this year.
The accused had denied the charge of murder but pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Sharkey (aged 28) in an apartment at Park View, Blackcastle in Navan on May 17, 2009.
In handing down sentence, Mr Justice Paul Carney said he took account of the fact that the killing was perpetrated in the course of a plan to rob the victim and that the accused purchased the knife in advance.
He said: "It is the experience of this court that those who equip themselves with knives generally end up using them to fatal effect."
Mr Justice Carney also had regard to the effect the killing had on the victim’s family noting that in this case it was particularly acute as David Sharkey was the second son to be lost in a fatal knife attack.
Having regard to the accused’s history of drug dependency, Justice Carney held that it afforded no defence nor did it provide any mitigation in relation to his responsibility for the killing.
In favour of the accused Justice Carney took account of his early plea of guilty to manslaughter and the genuine remorse he showed as well as the efforts he has made "to get away from the scourge of drugs".
During the seven-day trial the court heard that on the night of the killing two gardaí stopped a BMW on Dunsink Lane in Finglas.
They spoke to the driver, who gave what turned out to be a fake name, then followed the car finding it abandoned in a halting site.
In the boot of the car gardaí discovered the body of David Sharkey and a fingerprint on a bag of blood-stained clothes which led them to the accused.
Father-of-three Steven Penrose admitted stabbing the deceased earlier in the evening at a woman’s apartment in Navan.
The accused said he intended to steal heroin from his drug dealer, David Sharkey, but things went wrong and a struggle ensued during which he stabbed Mr Sharkey 13 times.
The jury were shown CCTV footage of the deceased arriving at the apartment on the evening of May 17 and Mr Penrose leaving 10 minutes later.
The footage recorded the accused removing something heavy from the apartment and carrying it to Mr Sharkey’s BMW.
Mr Penrose was also recorded on CCTV purchasing a long-bladed kitchen knife, earlier that day.
Previously, the court heard the accused had 23 previous convictions and had been addicted to drugs for some years after his girlfriend had a stillborn child.
Ann Sharkey, mother of the deceased, had told the court this was the second son she had lost following a knife attack.
Mr Justice Carney sentenced the accused to nine years in prison to date from My 18, 2009.