A LIMERICK man was yesterday found guilty of the murder a schoolboy soccer star he stabbed to death when he stormed into a house where the boy was visiting friends.
After two hours, a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Limerick returned a unanimous verdict against John O’Loughlin, aged 21, of Cecil Street, convicting him of the murder of Ukraine-born Roman Vysochan, aged 16, at Carrig Midhe, Corbally, on May 10, 2008.
O’Loughlin, who denied the charge, pleaded guilty to assaulting a second youth aged 15, in the same incident.
Roman and his younger brother, Oleg 8, settled in Corbally with their parents, Vitolij and Tetyana, after moving to Ireland some years ago from Ukraine.
The dead boy’s mother Tetyana wept as her victim impact statement was read out in court.
In it she recalled how Roman studied high-level maths and intended to go on to the University of Limerick. He was one of the most promising young players with the local Corbally United team.
Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed the mandatory life sentence on O’Loughlin.
O’Loughlin, who did not give evidence, in a statement to gardaí said he was out drinking, and as a result of a message he phoned a house where two teenage girls and their young brother were living. They were known to him. He heard other voices in the background and became concerned as one of the girls had been taking “weed”.
When he went to the house he was accompanied by another person referred to as ‘Chicken’.
After arriving at the house by taxi he heard a lot of noise inside and on entering saw two young fellows running up the stairs. As he did not know how many were upstairs he went to the kitchen and got a knife.
On entering one of the girls’ bedrooms upstairs he saw the 15-year-old youth and told him get out. A scuffle followed and he stabbed this person in the leg.
He denied stabbing Roman Vysochan, who was also in the house.
When he went upstairs he had the knife under the sleeve of his tracksuit. He did not plan to use the knife, but had it to threaten those who were upstairs in one of the girls’ bedrooms.
Det Garda John Farmer said that in an interview at Mayorstone Garda Station, O’Loughlin admitted stabbing one person in the leg, but denied stabbing Roman Vyscohan, whom he only knew to see.
A teenage girl who was in the house told gardaí in an interview shortly after they got to the scene that she saw O’Loughlin stab Roman Vysochan five or six times. In evidence she said she did not remember anything due to affects of cannabis.
Another girl aged 15, who was in the house, during her evidence was handed a statement she gave to gardaí. When asked by State prosecutor, Mary Rose Gearty, SC, if she had given this statement to gardaí, the witness replied she did not know as she was taking cocaine and hash.
She agreed that her signature was on the statement. In it she told Det Garda Enda Haugh she saw Roman Vyscochen running down the stairs followed by the accused and another man.
The witness said: “I can’t remember saying all this, but obviously I did because my name is on it, but I can’t remember.”
She said she took hash with others in a bedroom of the house as they listened to music. Roman was the only one not taking hash. The jury heard evidence from the teenage boy, now aged 17, who was stabbed on the night.
The witness identified O’Loughlin as the person who stuck a knife in his leg.
The teenager said he was in the bedroom of a house with Roman Vysochan and two other girls.
He said “John had a knife his hand. He stuck the knife in my leg but I didn’t realise it at the time.”
The witness said he ran out of the house and a few minutes later Roman Vysochan came out holding his stomach.
“There was blood on his stomach, I didn’t know what happened to him,” he said.
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