Gardaí catch convicted killer carrying a knife while drunk

A Scotsman who served time for a manslaughter in Waterford more than 13 years ago was caught with a knife in his pocket while drunk in Cork City last September.

Graeme Turnbull of Cooranig, Dunmanway, Co Cork, yesterday denied the charge of carrying the knife without a lawful purpose. His defence was that he had been doing some work setting up an arts festival a few days earlier for which he was using the knife and had forgotten it was in his pocket.

Judge Leo Malone did not accept that explanation and convicted Turnbull, 49, of the offence. Inspector John Deasy told the judge of the defendant’s previous convictions, including a count of manslaughter. Turnbull said yesterday that he got an eight-year sentence, partly suspended for that crime.

“He should realise that due to his previous convictions, one almost at the most serious end, carrying a knife would lead to serious consequences for him.” said Judge Malone at Cork District Court.

Turnbull and a co-accused, who were described as peace activists and New Age travellers at the time of the manslaughter trial, were jailed for the manslaughter of Sergio Abru after a fight in a caravan park at Clashanahy, near Ardmore.

Mr Abru died after he was beaten by three men. The third man was jailed for the more serious charge of murder.

The Central Criminal Court heard at the time that the three men and Mr Abru became involved in a fight on the night of September 6, 2002, over the victim’s treatment of his girlfriend and their son.

The late Mr Abru had previously served a sentence for assaulting his partner.

When the fight started, Mr Abru was punched and kicked by the trio, and struck by the man eventually convicted of murder with a blunt instrument — believed to be the foot-rest from a bus —and was dragged to a nearby field and left for dead.

Turnbull was described at the manslaughter sentencing as a gentle person for whom violence was out of character. Turnbull told Frank Buttimer, solicitor, yesterday, he forgot the knife was in his pocket.

Garda David Noonan said he searched Turnbull at Merchants Quay, Cork, on September 29, 2015, and found the knife in his back pocket. That was despite the defendant replying he had nothing when asked had he any knives or ‘sharps’

Judge Malone said he would put the case back for a month for a probation report on Turnbull’s suitability for 170 hours of community service instead of five months in prison for carrying the knife.


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