A sentencing hearing at the Central Criminal Court for the three men convicted of murdering Thomas ‘Toddy’ Dooley, heard the family statement yesterday.
The dead man’s four sisters, Catherine Darby, Cora McAuley, Ann Finnegan, and Rose Murphy, niece Denise Murphy and nephews John and William Murphy said they were “horrified and shocked at the cruel and heartless way he was brutally taken from us and his family never got the chance to say goodbye”.
Matthew Cummins, aged 22, of Churchview Heights, Edenderry, Co Offaly, was convicted of Mr Dooley’s murder on August 5, 2015. His co-accused, Sean Davy, also 22, of Clonmullen Drive, Edenderry, and James Davy, aged 25, of Thornhill Meadows, Celbridge, Co Kildare, were convicted on August 4. The trial heard that Mr Dooley suffered eight blows to the head with a baseball bat that smashed his skull and disfigured his face.
Detective Garda Joseph Bradley yesterday told the court that all three men had previous convictions. Cummins had 69 previous convictions, Sean Davy had seven previous convictions, and James Davy had 21 previous convictions.
Before sentencing, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said the murder was a “brutal, motiveless attack on this defenceless elderly man”.
She sentenced all three to the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
She backdated all three sentences to take into account any time they had spent in custody awaiting trial since November 24, 2014, when the three were first charged.
Cummins had claimed that, “out of the blue”, Sean Davy walked up behind the 64-year-old and beat him on the back of the head with the bat, before coming around the armchair to continue the beating from the front.
Sean Davy had claimed that James Davy was responsible for most of the blows, and that he himself struck Mr Dooley once, but “not full force”.
James Davy denied laying a hand on Mr Dooley, saying that Sean Davy beat him with the bat and that Cummins had kicked Mr Dooley but not with much force.
None of the three took responsibility for the attempts to set Mr Dooley’s clothes and armchair on fire.
The court also heard that Sean Davy and James Davy had penned apologies to Mr Dooley’s family. Ronan Munro, defending Sean Davy, said his client has thought long and hard about what happened.
His letter acknowledged that he could not bring Mr Dooley back and added: “I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart”.
Padraig O’Dwyer, defending James Davy, said his client is sorry that he was present when Mr Dooley was attacked.
“It goes through my head every day,” the apology read. “I am very saddened by the death of Mr Dooley and that I didn’t do anything to stop it.”
He concluded: “May his body and soul rest in peace.”