A 32-year-old Dublin man was today found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment for the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend's former lover at the Central Criminal Court.
Mark McCann, aged 32, of Virginia Drive, Finglas denied murdering Robert Rogers, aged 26, of Berryfield Road, Finglas on January 12, 2002 at 82 Cappagh Avenue, Finglas.
The jury deliberated for three hours and 19 minutes before reaching a majority verdict of 11 to 1.
Mr Rogers' mother, Sheila, wept as the guilty verdict was returned. The accused sat motionless as he was sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment by Mr Justice Paul Carney.
The court heard the fatal stabbing arose out of a rivalry between the deceased and the accused for the affections of one woman, Anita Dunne.
Mr Rogers’ brother, Philip, told the court in his victim impact statement that his brother was nothing like the person, who had been portrayed during the trial: "My brother was no bully, or a danger to anyone."
"He was a kind, decent person and we had to sit through his assassination in court," Mr Rogers said.
The deceased, Mr Rogers said, was the third youngest of seven boys and had three young girls from a previous relationship.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Rogers said his brother’s children "won’t have a father for Christmas. It’s very hard to cope with. He won’t be there for them at family occasions".
Sheila Rogers, mother of the deceased man said after the verdict that her son’s little girl, now aged nine, was six on the day her father was murdered by Mark McCann.
"The middle daughter took her father’s death really badly, she is receiving counselling to cope with it. She didn’t want to make her Communion last year because her daddy wasn’t going to be there," Mr Rogers told the court.
The deceased man’s brother said the convicted man will "eventually have freedom" and that he believed Mr McCann "should spend the rest of his life in prison".
Detective Superintendent John Mulligan told the court after sentencing had been handed down that Mr McCann is currently serving a three-year sentence for assault causing harm committed in November 2003 while he was on bail for the murder charge.
Det. Supt Mulligan said Mr McCann has 12 previous convictions including larceny and road traffic offences.
Mr Justice Carney thanked the jury for their service and exempted them for life. An application for leave to appeal was refused.
During the six-day trial the court heard Mr McCann murdered his girlfriend’s former lover because he didn’t want Mr Rogers "around her".
"I was just after getting back with her and he was f**king it all up," the Central Criminal Court heard.
Mr McCann had been going out with Ms Dunne until Mr Rogers arrived on the scene, the court heard.
After Mr Rogers called to the house of Ms Dunne on the morning of the fatal stabbing, Mr McCann confronted the former boyfriend, a struggle ensued and the deceased was stabbed.
Mr McCann was arrested by gardaí within minutes of the stabbing as he cycled down Barry Road with a knife down his trousers.
During interviews with gardaí, Mr McCann said: "The two of us were just scuffling and I stabbed him, three to four times, I think."
When asked by gardaí why he stabbed the deceased, Mr McCann said: "Everything just happens to me, losing people. I was afraid I was going to lose Anita. I couldn’t help myself."
Mr McCann admitted to gardaí that he stabbed Mr Rogers in the back. "I didn’t want him near her or the gaff, he just wouldn’t leave us alone," Mr McCann told gardaí.
The accused told gardaí he had been going out with Anita Dunne for two years but they had split up for a while during which Anita went out with Mr Rogers.
The accused told gardai he "got back with Anita about two weeks" before the fatal stabbing.
Mr McCann said Anita Dunne and himself split up because the deceased allegedly told her he was on "gear", referring to drugs.
Mr Rogers also allegedly told Ms Dunne that the accused had the "virus" meaning HIV. "He was telling everyone, it was really wrecking my head," Mr McCann told gardaí.
When Mr Rogers called to 82 Cappagh Avenue on the morning of the incident, the accused told gardaí he had stayed the night at the house.
The accused told gardaí when he opened the door of the sitting room, the deceased "grabbed" him by the throat. "He hit me a few boxes in the face," he told gardaí.
Mr McCann told gardaí he then went out into the hall. "I thought about it. I couldn’t put up with the shit anymore. I wanted him to leave it out."
Mr McCann told gardaí he was "in a rage". "I was scared and annoyed. He wouldn’t leave the two of us alone, he was always picking on me." The accused said to gardai he then "lashed out".
Afterwards the accused said he "picked up the knife and put it in the front of his jacket". "I got onto my push bike and just went," Mr McCann told gardaí.
When pressed by gardaí why he didn’t walk away from the fight, Mr McCann allegedly said the deceased "used to give me an awful life".
"I knew if I walked away I would lose Anita," Mr McCann told gardaí.
The accused said to gardaí: "I wish today it didn’t happen, he was always in the way, never leaving me alone."
"I am sorry he is dead. I just wanted to scare him", Mr McCann told gardaí. "I am sorry it all happened, he used to be my mate. He should have left us alone to get on with our lives," the accused told gardaí.