Woman given seven years for manslaughter of taxi driver

A Dublin woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison, with three years suspended, for the manslaughter of taxi driver Mark Smyth, who she stabbed in the face before her former partner Carlos Byrne stabbed him to death 40 times in March 2008.

A Dublin woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison, with three years suspended, for the manslaughter of taxi driver Mark Smyth, who she stabbed in the face before her former partner Carlos Byrne stabbed him to death 40 times in March 2008.

Lindsey Fahy (aged 26) originally from Fortlawn Drive, Blanchardstown was convicted last March by a Central Criminal Court jury of the manslaughter of Mark Smyth (aged 31) at the Fortlawn Estate in Blanchardstown on March 18, 2008.

Carlos Byrne (aged 23), the former partner of Ms Fahy, was convicted of Mr Smyth's murder and jailed for life in March 2009.

The court heard during the 13-day trial that Mr Smyth drove to Byrne and Fahy's address at Linnetsfield Square, Clonee, Co. Meath with his partner Emma Shaw and their two-year-old son in the passenger seat. Mr Byrne alleged that he owed Mr Smyth money for cocaine and Mr Smyth wanted to collect it.

Mr Byrne and Ms Fahy entered Mr Smyth's taxi armed with kitchen knives and asked to be driven to Fortlawn Estate, Blanchardstown.

Ms Fahy told gardaí that she was the first to produce a knife saying she 'nicked him in the face'.

Mr Byrne then reached around and stabbed Mr Smyth in the neck.

Mr Smyth managed to take off his seat belt and pull himself out of the car only to be pursued by Mr Byrne up the street. who stabbed him 40 times in what was described as a frenzied attack.

Some residents told the court they heard Ms Fahy shouting encouragement at Mr Byrne saying: "That's my fella, kill him," while other witnesses said they heard Ms Fahy telling Mr Byrne to stop.

Prosecuting Counsel John Alymer SC told Mr Justice Paul Butler today that the DPP viewed this offence of manslaughter at the high end of the scale, given that not only was a knife used but that the knife was carried to the scene which suggested a premeditated element.

Detective Sergeant Michael Kennedy said that Ms Fahy had two previous convictions, one in November 2005 for damaging property and public intoxication, for which she received probation, and the second for theft and failing to appear in March 2007.

Antoinette Fahy, mother of Lindsey, told the court that her daughter had been a good child and had worked as a carer in a nursing home after she left school. She said her daughter had become pregnant at a young age and had two children aged eight and seven.

Ms Fahy senior became visibly upset when she spoke of the changes she noticed in her daughter’s behaviour around two years ago and discovered she was addicted to drugs. It was around this time Lindsey Fahy began living with Carlos Byrne.

Mr Justice Paul Butler described the case as very tragic and said he was very conscious of the family of the deceased and appreciated what a terrible act was committed.

The judge disagreed with the view put forward by the DPP that the offence was on the higher end of the scale of manslaughter.

He said: "Of course there were aggravating circumstances such as the knife and the fact that the attack took place in the presence of Mr Smyth's partner and his young son but Ms Fahy did not play a very great part in this - the prime mover was Mr Byrne."

Mr Justice Butler said it was significant that Ms Fahy didn't strike the fatal blow and the evidence established only struck one blow with the knife.

He said: "Ms Fahy has a future and there is every possibility that properly supervised she will become a valued member of society."

Mr Justice Butler felt a sentence of seven years would be appropriate and suspended the last three years, backdating the sentence to August 2, 2008 when Ms Fahy first entered prison.

The family of Mark Smyth expressed their disappointment at the sentence describing it as too lenient.

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