A woman had to be removed from the Central Criminal Court today after she told family members of a convicted killer: "I will kill all of you."
Terence "Terry" Connors had taken the stand at his sentencing hearing to apologise to members of his victim's family. As he spoke a woman in the public gallery shouted that he should be ashamed of himself and then turned to members of his family and shouted: "I am going to kill all of you."
A garda removed her and Justice Paul Butler warned that he would adjourn the hearing if there were any more outbursts.
Connors (aged 42), of Drumcairn Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was convicted last December of manslaughter for killing Peter Conroy (aged 25), at Palmerstown Lodge B&B, Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 on June 9, 2015.
When the jury returned the verdict of not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter, there were angry scenes with several people held back from the killer by prison guards and gardaí.
When the court had settled down, Mr Connors described his victim as "a good man" and, addressing the Conroy family, he said: "I am very sorry and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Not one day goes by that I don't pray for him."
'He has broken us'
Moments earlier the victim's mother Marion Conroy spoke about the devastating impact of her son's violent death. "We were so proud and very happy to see the man he had become. He was a kind, loving and funny person. A great son, brother and father," she said.
She described him as a gentleman who "was always happy to help out anyone with anything." He was the head of the family and "without him we are lost," she said. "All we do is cry and talk about him. We feel alone, miserable and hurt. We can never see our son's smiling face or hear his laughter or his jokes."
Asking for justice for her son, she said: "Terry Connors took everything from us the day he took Peter. Our hearts died with him and we will never be the same people again. Terry Connors not only robbed us of our precious son but he robbed us all of our lives. He has broken us."
38 previous convictions
Detective Inspector Colm O'Malley told the court that Connors had 38 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences. His most recent conviction was In 2014 when he was sentenced to five months at Killarney District Court for entering a building with intent to commit an offence. None of his convictions prior to the manslaughter verdict were for violent offences.
Outlining the events that led to the killing, Detective Inspector O'Malley agreed with Garnet Orange SC, acting for Connors, that the convicted man had been at a wedding party in Sallynoggin where he drank alcohol and took a little cocaine. He came home to the B&B in Palmerstown, went to sleep and some time later awoke to hear shouting and his sons calling "daddy, daddy".
Detective O'Malley agreed that the reason for the fracas is unknown but two men who did not live at the B&B had sneaked in and were involved in a brawl. He said Connors appeared to believe that someone had a knife and that his children were in danger.
Connors grabbed a knife before going to where the fight was happening and as the violence intensified in the hallway of the B&B he stabbed Mr Connors.
In his submissions to the judge, Mr Orange pointed out that Connors had admitted his role in the killing and pleaded guilty to manslaughter from the outset. His plea was not accepted.
He said Connors showed genuine remorse both during interviews with gardaí and in court and had no ill-will towards the deceased. He asked the judge to consider a previous, similar case which had resulted in an eight-year sentence for a man convicted of manslaughter with a knife.
Justice Butler adjourned sentencing until February 20. Mr Connors is in custody.