Teen suffers nightmares about uncle he killed

A BLARNEY teenager who stabbed his uncle to death with a jagged edged flick-knife now meets the deceased in his nightmares, it emerged at his sentencing hearing.

Mr Justice Paul Carney heard the prosecution and defence evidence in advance of sentencing Christopher Ruby, aged 18, of Ard Na Greine, Station Road, Blarney, Cork, for killing Shannon Ruby, 30, on Saturday, September 26, 2009, at a neighbouring house.

The judge said he would impose sentence on Friday at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

Dr Brian Caffrey, a clinical psychiatrist who interviewed the accused at the request of the defence, said: “He has nightmares. He meets Shannon Ruby and Shannon Ruby says to him, ‘You killed me’, in the dreams.”

Dr McCaffrey said Christopher Ruby told him: “I feel guilt, it will never be the same. I wish I could take it back but there is nothing I can do. I will have to live with this for the rest of my life.”

Detective Garda Maurice Leahy said both parties had been drinking and taking drugs in the hours before the incident and that Shannon Ruby struck his nephew, in front of others, knocking him to the floor.

Christopher Ruby got up and went back into his own home where he got the flick-knife from his bedroom. He went back to find his uncle. A friend of the defendant tried to restrain him but Christopher brushed him aside and stabbed Shannon Ruby a number of times.

Det Garda Leahy said: “Once he saw Shannon Ruby he grabbed on to him and stuck the knife in his chest with the flick-knife with a jagged edge. He then put the knife under the seat of a couch in the sitting room (of his own house).”

Prosecution senior counsel Tom Creed said the fatal wound went through Shannon Ruby’s heart and liver.

Mr Creed said the initial row between the parties was over the payment of a debt for drugs.

The deceased’s partner Nora Harty said in a victim impact report: “Shannon will never be able to see his daughter grow up, he has missed her first step, her christening and her birthday. She will have to live without her father. He had a heart of gold. Life will never be the same without Shannon.”

The deceased’s parents, Frank and Ursula, said in their victim impact report: “He was a keen fisherman and boxer. Unfortunately, the Shannon we knew and loved turned to be addicted to heroin with an overwhelming need to feed his habit. Christopher turned against drugs. We would like to see Christopher maintain his drug-free status.

“We know he badly regrets his actions. He lived with us for 12 years. I class him also as a son.”

The family asked through this statement if the judge would let Christopher continue with his treatment and not send him to prison.

While Mr Justice Carney will not impose sentence until Friday he indicated he would not be in a position to impose a non-custodial sentence, despite the request by the family. The judge commented that the lethal weapon which was used in the case had to be procured before it was used and that this differentiated it from the type of case where a weapon was found at the scene and used.

Christopher Ruby was remanded in custody.

He faced trial for murder last June and replied at his arraignment: “Not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.”

Prosecution senior counsel Tom Creed said yesterday that this plea was acceptable to the DPP because of the element of provocation.

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