Derek ‘Del Boy’ Hutch will serve six years in jail for the manslaughter of 23-year-old Barry Maguire, after Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy suspended four years of his sentence to “keep light at the end of the tunnel” and ensure “the business of sentencing” was not about “locking someone up and throwing away the key”.
Hutch, a nephew of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the young carpenter in the early hours of December 26, 2007 at Milltown Estate in Ashbourne.
The 26-year-old Dubliner, with an address at Chapel Farm Avenue, Lusk but who is originally from the inner city, stood accused with 27-year-old Alan Donohue of Ashdale Crescent, Ashbourne, who also pleaded guilty.
Both Hutch and Donohue also pleaded guilty to a second count of intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Damien Carty on the same occasion.
Mr Maguire, who was from the Deerpark estate in Ashbourne, died having being stabbed in the back yard away from Ashbourne garda station and just hours after spending a traditional Christmas with his family.
He suffered a single knife wound, which penetrated his heart and chest, after going to the aid of a group of his friends involved in an altercation with Hutch and Donohue at the entrance to the Milltown estate.
Mr Justice McCarthy also imposed a concurrent six-year sentence on Hutch, who has 39 previous convictions, for causing serious harm to Mr Carty.
He said the cumulative six-year term would run consecutively to sentences totalling 10 years Hutch is currently serving for possession of a silenced semi-automatic pistol and for his involvement in a high-powered motorcycle theft ring.
In sentencing Mr Justice McCarthy said he had regard to the written apologies penned by both defendants, where the pair conveyed their sorrow over the death of Mr Maguire and a wish to “turn the clock back”.
He said he regarded both apologies as worthwhile and of substance but noted that “one would have to be a stone not to feel a deep sense of sorrow for wrongdoing of this kind”.
Mr Justice McCarthy said while the pleas offered by both men were also of value, these mitigating factors were somewhat “diluted” by the fact that both had made untruthful allegations of having being attacked and had made efforts to dispose of knives at Donohue’s house.
He said that Hutch, a recovering drug addict who suffers with depression, had also tried to “buttress the untruthfulness” of his claims by arranging for knife injuries to be inflicted on his back and by stating that the injuries had been suffered during a fight.
Mr Justice McCarthy said that the circumstances which led to the manslaughter, where Hutch and Donohue returned to the house in Ashdale Crescent and procured knives after a scuffle broke out between Hutch and a group of people including Mr Carty and friends of Mr Maguire, was a significant aggravating factor in the case.
He also remarked that Donohue, who has 21 previous convictions, had “even less reason” for becoming involved in the incident leading to the death of Mr Maguire.
Mr Justice McCarthy said although Donohue was of a different character and the mitigation circumstances were greater in his case, he would impose on him a sentence of eight years for manslaughter and a concurrent five-year sentence for causing serious harm.
He acknowledged this was a greater term than that imposed on Hutch, which extends to six years, but said that was in light of the fact that Hutch is already serving a lengthy period of imprisonment.