Mayo man who murdered two elderly brothers with special needs given date for appeal hearing

A Mayo man given life for the murder of two elderly brothers with special needs has been given a date in June for an appeal against his conviction.

Mayo man who murdered two elderly brothers with special needs given date for appeal hearing

A Mayo man given life for the murder of two elderly brothers with special needs has been given a date in June for an appeal against his conviction.

Alan Cawley, 31, of Four Winds, Corrimbla, Ballina, Co Mayo had admitted killing Thomas Blaine (69) and John (Jack) Blaine (76) at New Antrim Street in Castlebar on July 10, 2013, but denied it was murder.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Cawley had bludgeoned them with a shovel and one of their walking sticks. He argued that he had three mental disorders that had diminished his responsibility and was therefore entitled to a manslaughter verdict.

However, he was unanimously found guilty by a jury after an hour and 42 minutes of deliberations and given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on July 25, 2017.

Tom Blaine had schizophrenia and his brother had dementia, a tremor and a severe hunch in his back, having been involved in a serious accident on a building site years earlier.

Both brothers also had speech impediments. They were under the care of the HSE, and a home help called to them three times a day.

Cawley was released from Castlerea prison four days before the killings and was provided with B&B accommodation in Castlebar. He bought a bottle of wine around 5pm on July 9 and was seen drinking three pints of Guinness in pubs later that evening.

He had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other disorders as a child. He had also been diagnosed with two personality disorders as an adult, was often on heavy medication, had developed a dependence on alcohol and prescription drugs and was in and out of both hospital and prison.

In January, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham asked Cawley’s lawyers to outline the status of their client’s appeal to the Coroner for Mayo.

He said the coroner felt he couldn’t proceed with an inquest into the deaths of the two brothers until Cawley’s appeal had concluded, which was a cause of concern to the deceased’s family.

Cawley had lodged an appeal against his conviction shortly after the jury verdict and transcripts were provided to the parties in October 2017.

Legal submissions, which were awaited on the last occasion, have now been filed.

In the court today, Mr Justice Birmingham fixed June 21 next as the date for the hearing of Cawley’s appeal against conviction.

Cawley was not in court for the list to fix dates.

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