A jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict against Lloyd Buckley, aged 40, of Flat F, 3 Rocksprings Terrace, St Luke’s, Cork, for the murder of Michael Healy at Flat G in the same building on a date between Sept 18 and Sept 22, 2010.
The jury took less than two hours to return their verdict and Mr Justice Paul Carney imposed the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
While Buckley gave no evidence, he told gardaí that on the Saturday morning of that weekend he was feeling suicidal and walked around his flat with a knife, feeling like the walls were closing in on him. He said he went to the neighbouring flat of Michael Healy, whom he described as a friend, hoping he would call for help. However, he said that when Mr Healy opened the door he drove a knife through his head.
The prosecution evidence, in particular from state pathologist Marie Cassidy, showed that the deceased suffered at least six blows to the head from a relatively heavy blunt weapon. She also said that, with such extensive injuries, she believed Mr Healy would have been immobilised immediately and would not have been able to move from the bed to the bathroom where he was ultimately found. Lack of blood-staining on his clothing suggested he was murdered when he was lying on the bed. Mr Healy had no defensive injuries or any wounds inflicted with a knife.
Dermot Healy, brother of the deceased, told yesterday how he felt when there was no word from his brother after two days.
“My feelings when I had to go looking for Mike that morning was I did not know what I was going to find,” said Mr Healy. “I knew where he was living but I still had to find the flat he was staying in. I knocked at a door and a man answered who was not wearing any clothes.
“I asked this man about my brother Mike and he pointed at the door which was opposite to his. I then went to Mike’s door and started knocking and shouting his name.
“I now know this is the man who is accused of killing my brother. When I think of meeting this man and he looking at me and knowing what he had done and knowing that Mike could have been lying there in the corner of the room for two days at least, it makes me so angry and disgusted.
“There was only myself and Mike in the family and life is now so sad and empty. His death is now with me every minute and hour of the day and night.”
Defence senior counsel Martin Giblin read from a written apology by Buckley, in which he said: “I wish to say how sorry I am for putting you all through so much pain caused by my actions in Sept 2010.”
Buckley wept at various stages in the sentencing hearing, as he did from time to time during the five-day trial.