Boxer sentenced to 10 years for killing his girlfriend

An “accomplished boxer” has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, with the last two years suspended, for the manslaughter of a mother of two with whom he had been in a “turbulent relationship”.

Ray Gralton, 23, of Mount Prospect, Roscommon, was charged with the murder of Sara Staunton, aged 28, at her home at Portagh, Mayo Abbey, Claremorris, Co Mayo, on December 13, 2013.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The court heard previously that Gralton and Ms Staunton were together for 12 months prior to her death, and there had been a “strong culture of alcohol abuse and intoxication on both sides”.

Paddy McCarthy, prosecuting, previously told the Central Criminal Court Ms Staunton had two children who were living with their father in Claremorris at the time of her death.

The court heard from Det Sgt Gary Walsh that Gralton had 12 previous convictions, including public order offences.

Brendan Grehan, defending,read out a letter from his client, which described Ms Staunton as a “kind, funny, and beautiful person”. In the letter, Gralton said he would “never forgive” himself and “prays to her, often in tears for forgiveness”, adding:

“I don’t expect Sara’s family to ever forgive me and this was a tragic event that will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Mr Justice Paul Carney said the offence was of “inherent gravity” and that, taking into account the effect on members of Ms Staunton’s family and the injuries inflicted, as well as his risk of reoffending, he imposed a sentence of 10 years to be backdated from December 16, 2013.

Mr Justice Carney said that factors in favour of Gralton were his genuine remorse and his good work record, and he suspended the final two years on the condition that Gralton enter into a bond of €1,000 and that he “stay away” from the Staunton family.

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