Christmas Eve killer jailed

David Shanley
David Shanley

A MAN who killed his partner’s ex-husband, who died from a knife wound to a varicose vein after a row on Christmas Eve, was jailed for two-and-a-half years today.

John Lawlor (48) bled to death after David Shanley (47) called to his house at Ballintray Lower, Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co Wexford on Christmas Eve 2014.
A previous hearing was told a knife had pierced Mr Lawlor’s varicose vein below the knee.
Earlier this month, Shanley, of Courtown Harbour, Gorey, Co Wexford, denied murder but admitted to Mr Lawlor’s manslaughter on December 24 or 25, 2014. The State had accepted his plea

Sentencing Shanley to five years’ imprisonment, with two-and-half years suspended, Mr Justice Paul Butler told the Central Criminal Court that the conviction of manslaughter could carry a life sentence.

He said the victim, who was a father of three, had been a “much loved son, brother, father and grandfather”.

However, the judge said that this offence was on the ‘lower scale’ for sentencing.

He added that, by his plea, the accused had eventually “accepted responsibility for his actions” even though Shanley had originally tried to “deflect any responsibility” by telling gardai that the struggle with Mr Lawlor had been a “fight for survival”.

Noting the unusual nature of the wound, “which was just below the knee”, the judge accepted that the accused - who has been in custody since October 10 this year - could not have predicted that his actions would have had “fatal consequences”.

As Shanley was been led away to begin his sentence, a male relative of the deceased sitting in the public gallery told the judge that the conviction “should have been murder, not manslaughter”.

Another relative - who said she was the dead man’s sister - was then led away from the court by gardai after she confronted relatives of the accused, telling them that Shanley had “got away with murder”.