Killing of 'gentle giant' is a lifelong scar, says family

David Spain
David Spain

A Dublin man is due to be sentenced next month for the manslaughter of a man described by his family as a "gentle giant".

Wayne Kennedy (34) was charged with murdering David Spain (26) on December 26th, 2013 as well as intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Sean Turner .

Last July, Mr Kennedy pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to both counts.

A jury of 10 men and two women unanimously found Mr Kennedy not guilty of the second count to intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to Sean Turner.

They reached a majority verdict  that Mr Kennedy was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Counsel for the prosecution, Mr Paddy McCarthy SC told the Central Criminal Court today (Monday) that Mr Kennedy was acquitted of murder and assault.

"The background is that it commenced on Christmas evening December 25th 2013," he said.

"Members had arrived at the house of the late David Spain at Rathsallagh Park and stayed there playing darts and having a few drinks. At four or five am there were texts between Sean Turner and Wayne Kennedy - Mr Kennedy was looking for 50 pounds," he said.

"A straightener was arranged between both with plans for them to meet on the green - Mr Turner left to go to that fight (with two others). Three of them went towards Mr Kennedy's house," he continued.

"Mr Turner phoned him (Mr Kennedy) and saw him come from the house. Mr Turner picked up a stone and threw it at Mr Kennedy," he said.

"Mr Turner and Mr Kennedy faced up to each other," he added.

The court heard previously (July) that Sean Turner received two knife wounds, which were "potentially fatal".

The trial heard that Mr Turner ran back in the direction of the deceased's house shouting that he had been stabbed.

It was the State's case that Mr Spain ran after Wayne Kennedy and a fight pursued. Mr McCarthy said previously, that the deceased threw a number of punches at Wayne Kennedy who had a knife in his right hand and stabbed the deceased six times.

Mr McCarthy said today that David Spain "suffered those injuries from which he died".

Taking to the stand today, Detective Garda Kieran Murphy described the deceased as "extremely popular".

"He was 26 years of age - he was well loved, well liked and extremely popular," he said.

He told the court that Mr Kennedy lives at home with his mother, father and two children.

He said that Mr Kennedy was unemployed at the time and that he has nine previous convictions for threatening and abusive behaviour, assault causing harm and drunk driving.

"It (the fight) was between Mr Turner and Mr Kennedy - Mr Spain had nothing to do with it.

He (Mr Spain) heard a stabbing had taken place and went out as a helpful friend. He did ultimately pick up a rock and fire it at him," he said. 

Counsel for the defence, Mr Remy Farrell said that CCTV footage of the confrontation showed Mr Kennedy running away from Mr Spain.

"Footage showed Mr Kennedy putting a parked car between himself and those pursuing him," he said.

"The entirety of the fight shows Mr Kennedy moving away from Mr Spain," he added.

"He (Mr Kennedy) had sole custody of his son," he said.

A victim impact statement was delivered to the court by Uncle of the deceased, Mr Eamonn Kavanagh who asked "why us".

Eamonn Kavanagh

"Why us - we don't deserve this pain, grief and heartache," he said.

"Our lives are destroyed forever - our daily struggle is trying so hard not to replay these horrifying images," he said.

"What are we supposed to do - there is a lifelong scar that will never heal," he continued.

"Some days it is as if David has been killed all over again," he said.

Mr Kavanagh described the "sadness, anger and hatred" they were experiencing.

"David is gone from our lives in the blink of an eye - he loved to laugh," he added.

"He would do anything for anyone - its this loyalty that led David to his death," he said.

"His nephew, who David never got to meet, will hear about David. He will be remembered as a gentle giant. His light will shine on forever - we will keep his light shining," he said.

"We will never forgive Wayne Kennedy for killing David - we will never forget Dave and he will live on in each of us until we take our final breaths," he concluded.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded Wayne Kennedy in custody until December 7th when he is due to be sentenced.

Anne Sharkey