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Tragic killing Convicted killer took the life of his dad and 'will have to live with what he did', court told

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David Fortune

David Fortune

David Fortune

A convicted killer took the life of his father - a man who only ever showed him love - and is suffering a penalty worse than ten life sentences, the deceased's daughter has told the Central Criminal Court.

At a sentence hearing today the court also heard that the defendant David Fortune was jailed for eight years in 2006 for manslaughter after he fatally stabbed 31-year-old Michael Murphy outside the Buda Bar in Blanchardstown on Halloween night 2004.

Sean Gillane SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon that the killing of Gerry Fortune in 2018 falls in the upper end of seriousness for manslaughter and the defendant should be jailed for up to 15 years.

Defence counsel Michael Bowman SC said his client had a "very close bond and friendship" with his father and had "no animus whatsoever" towards him.

It was, counsel said, a "tragedy of diabolical proportions" brought on by paranoia and hallucinations his client suffered after taking a number of drugs and, in particular, a blue tablet.

He asked the court to place the offence in the mid-range and to consider suspending a portion of the sentence to allow Fortune continue his education and rehabilitation.

Fortune (33), of Rutland Grove in Crumlin went on trial at the Central Criminal Court last year charged with murdering his father Gerry Fortune (62) on August 19, 2018. On the fifth day of the trial, Fortune was re-arraigned following legal discussions between the parties and he pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

The Director of Public Prosecutions accepted the plea.

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Gerry Fortune

Gerry Fortune

Gerry Fortune

Leona Lambe, David Fortune's half-sister and daughter of the deceased, told today's sentence hearing that there are "no winners" regardless of the sentence imposed.

She added: "David will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life, knowing he took the life of a man who only ever showed him love, and that is worse than ten life sentences."

She detailed her family's difficulties since her father's death but said her father suffered more than any of them. He is never coming back, she said, and is missing all his family's important moments.

He would not have wanted his son David to go to prison, she said, or for the rest of the family to suffer such pain.

She said: "Every family has this one person they might refer to as the glue who holds everything together. He [Gerry Fortune] was ours. He should be still here with us."

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He was, she said, a healthy, happy man who often joked that he would get his letter from the president when he reached the age of 100.

He was three years from retirement and looked forward to "finally getting to relax and enjoy his free time."

Mr Bowman told the court that his client wants to "unreservedly apologise to his siblings and half siblings". He never intended to kill his father, with whom he had a "strong relationship", counsel said.

Mr Bowman reminded the court of the evidence of several witnesses during the five days of the trial who spoke of the close relationship David Fortune had with his father, that he "loved him to bits" and that his father, in turn, idolised David and would talk to him every day.

Counsel pointed to the statement of one of the family members, Laura Lambe, who said that Fortune looked as though he was possessed, had no idea what was going on around him and was hallucinating before he stabbed his father.

She had said in her evidence that if it weren't for the "blue tablets" that Fortune took that day, he would not have killed his father.

There was, Bowman said, "no animus or rational motivation" for the killing and no suggestion of premeditation. He said there was evidence that his client was hallucinating and that he believed people were trying to kill him.

He also said his client has had difficulties in his life that he has tried to overcome. He has studied addiction studies, has a number of qualifications and was due to begin a course in Maynooth in 2018.

Counsel asked the court to take into account the plea of guilty, the genuine remorse and the extraordinary circumstances acknowledged by all members of the family who said the accused would not deliberately harm his father and had no history of violence towards him.

It was, counsel said, "a tragedy of diabolical proportions" for the Lambes and for the accused.

Counsel said the probation services had outlined useful structures that could be put in place upon Fortune's release from prison and he asked the court to suspend part of the sentence on condition that he engage with those structures.

Sean Gillane SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions said the aggravating factors in the case are the previous conviction for manslaughter, the use of a knife, Fortune's failure to heed warnings to calm down, the absence of any offer of violence or provocation from the deceased and the fact the deceased was unarmed.

He also pointed out that Fortune left the scene without summoning help and after making his escape committed another offence by unlawfully taking a car.

Ms Justice Creedon adjourned sentencing until June 28.

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