Son lay dead on road as I walked home: father

The father of a 17-year-old student, stabbed to death in Killarney, Co Kerry, three years ago, yesterday told an inquest how he was informed of the tragedy as he approached the road in which his dead son lay.

Denis Lyne was walking home after being with a friend in a licensed premises in the town when he saw a lot of activity in the Ross Rd area where his family lived.

He had earlier made a number of attempts to phone his son, Stephen, on Jun 18, 2009, after the teen had not returned home as expected. He had assumed his son’s phone had been switched off.

As he made his way home at about 2.20am, Mr Lyne said he was approached by Gda Sgt David O’Connor, who “gave me the sad news Stephen was dead”.

The jury at the inquest in Killarney into the death of Stephen Lyne returned a verdict of unlawful killing, at Ross Rd which was within a few 100 metres of the student’s home.

He had suffered a single fatal stab wound through the lower back.

Gda Donal O’Neill told of receiving a call at the Garda station at 1.42am that a man was lying on the Ross Rd and had no pulse. A doctor pronounced him dead at the scene at 2.04am.

Stephen was missing a shoe and there were grass stains on his sock, the inquest also heard. A knife blade measuring 11.5cm and consistent with the wound was found beside his body. A baseball cap was found on a ditch and a mobile phone in a nearby field.

A number of teenagers, who knew Stephen and who had come upon his body on the grass margin of Ross Rd, also gave evidence. One said he saw two people leaning over the body and then running from the scene.

The inquest was also told how Stephen was in the company of Martin Ollo and Shane Regan, who is now deceased, that night.

While nobody has been charged with Stephen’s death, Martin Ollo, 19, originally from Estonia, was earlier this year convicted of conspiring to cause harm to Stephen Lyne the night before the fatal attack.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and was found not guilty of a second conspiracy charge on the night of Stephen’s death.

Coroner Terence Casey, extending sympathy to the Lyne family, said the inquest marked the end of a very protracted process for them.

He explained criminal proceedings had to be completed prior to the inquest.

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