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Waterford man (20) found guilty of violent murder of father and sentenced to life

Sad: Brophy, his girlfriend and his young son
Sad: Brophy, his girlfriend and his young son

A 20-year-old Waterford man has been found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2012 murder of Martin Brophy.

William Moran of Connolly Place, Waterford City was charged with murdering Martin Brophy (22) at the old Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) building between May 19 and May 21 2012.

Mr Moran had pleaded not guilty to the charge at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. The family of the deceased were in tears as the jury of three women and seven men delivered a unanimous verdict of guilty after eight hours and 38 minutes. 

The five week trial heard that the deceased died of blunt force trauma to the head, which could have been due to kicking, stamping or stomping.

Gavin Walsh (21) testified (Feb 17th) that he and William Moran went to what he described as "the warehouse" with two females on Saturday May 19, 2012.

The court heard that Mr Brophy, who was also known as Skip, was sleeping on a metal step when they arrived. He said that one of the females "calmed the two boys down" and that they all sat down and drank cider for at least an hour. The girls eventually went home.

He said that Mr Brophy later said that Mr Moran’s cousin, Ray Connolly, had threatened his (Mr Brophy’s) sister with a knife. He said that Mr Moran denied this, but that Mr Brophy told him to get his cousin on the phone and tell him to "come down here".

He said that Mr Moran did ring his cousin and put him on loudspeaker.

“Skip (the deceased) shouted into the phone that he’d slice Ray’s throat if he came down,” he said.

Mr Walsh said that the conversation between the accused and his cousin continued after he took him off loudspeaker and that Mr Moran then told the witness what he had said to his cousin.

“He said if me and William give Skip a beating, will you sort us out with a few Es, drugs,” he testified. “I said: ‘No, he’s too drunk’. William said: ‘I’ll do it myself’.”

The jury heard that the accused went behind Mr Brophy and dragged him.

Mr Walsh testified: “he started kicking him severely in the head. He dragged him up to the metal thing and put his teeth on it,” he continued.

“He said: ‘This is out of American History X’, a film, and then stamped on his head with his Timberland boot.” 

The court heard that a Facebook message sent from the Facebook page of William Moran on May 20th, 2012, said: "I gave that fella an old bad one. He said he was gonna slit my cousins throat - I think he is dead no word of a lie".

Dr Khalid Jabbar testified (Feb 13th) that he was the Deputy State Pathologist when called to the scene on May 22nd, 2012. 

Dr Jabbar said Mr Brophy’s body was lying on its left side by a pool of blood and that there was blood on the right side of the face. 

Next to the body, there was a blood-stained metal locker and part of a concrete block, which was also blood-stained.

"This trauma was made up of multiple fractures and included a hinge fracture running from one side to the other", he said.

He gave the opinion that Mr Brophy had died of significant, acute, craniocerebral  traumatic injuries due to blunt force trauma inflicted to the head. 

"This could have been caused by kicking, stamping or stomping", he said.

Dr Jabbar felt that death was rapid but not instantaneous.

Anne Sharkey