Family of stab victim Kieran Monahan shocked after death classed as ‘misadventure’

Kieran was visiting a friend’s home in the Larchfield Court area of the city on Valentine’s night when he was fatally stabbed.

Kieran’s mum Mary and sister Susan at his graveside

Kieran Monahan

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

The family of Kieran Monahan want the Justice Minister to conduct a full review of his case after his killing was downgraded from homicide to misadventure.

The 21-year-old was fatally stabbed at a house in Kilkenny 11 years ago this week, on February 15, 2012.

Kieran was visiting a friend’s home in the Larchfield Court area of the city on Valentine’s night when he was fatally stabbed.

When gardai arrived on the scene, the suspect in the case was found inside the property clutching a knife and Kieran was outside the apartment.

A third man who was present at the time, Dale Fogarty, died in November 2022 after crashing a car he stole from outside a post office in Kilkenny.

Fogarty, who also suffered injuries during the incident which saw the young man killed, never told gardai or Kieran’s family what he saw that fateful night, taking it to his grave.

Kieran Monahan

The Director of Public Prosecutions refused to direct charges in the case, meaning that the family have not had the option to face their son’s alleged attacker in court.

“We can’t believe the nonsense and the disrespect,” Kieran’s sister Susan Cullinane told Sunday World.

“We just want them to have the courtesy to tell my parents what happened to their son, and to tell me and Ryan what happened to our brother.”

It is believed that the introduction of the Criminal Law (Defence of the Dwelling) Act 2011, just a month prior to Kieran’s death may have been a factor in the case not going to trial.

The law means that the occupant of a household can use ‘reasonable force’ against another person to protect themselves or others, or prevent the commission of a crime.

It was signed into law in December 2011 and commenced in January 2012, just weeks prior to Kieran’s tragic death.

“It doesn’t make sense. That law, it’s a good law, but why did two other cases in this country go to court and have a trial [but we didn’t]? That’s all we’ve ever wanted,” said Susan.

The killing of Jack Power in 2018 after he broke into a home in Waterford saw 21-year-old Dean Kerrie, who reasoned he was protecting his home from the intruder, found guilty of manslaughter.

In another case, Martin Keenan went to trial charged with the murder of Wesley Mooney after he died in 2016. Keenan successfully used the law in his defence and was acquitted of the killing.

Susan Cullinane and her family went to identify Kieran’s body after he died and to them, it appeared that he had suffered injuries prior to his death.

“That’s an image that will never leave us — what we saw when we went into that room. Kieran’s nose was on the other side of his face. His eyes were turned up and he had bruises on his face as well,” she said.

Susan said in 2021 the family were notified that Kieran’s cause of death was changed by gardai to a non-crime incident category of ‘Person Misadventure’, type ‘Sudden Death’.

“He didn’t pick up a knife and stab himself. He didn’t kill himself. Sudden death is when you suddenly drop off, not when you have a knife in your chest.

“The DPP need to be upfront, and give families the meetings that they promised,” she said.

“At the beginning, when Kieran died, we were told that the DPP would sit down with us and tell us the why or what [of the decision].”

In a statement to the Sunday World, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said: “Victims of crime, a family member of a victim in a fatal case, or a solicitor acting on behalf of either a victim of fatal victim’s family, can ask the DPP for reasons for a decision not to prosecute.

“They can also ask for a review of that decision if they’re not satisfied with the reasons provided.”

Despite this promise and the family begging for answers about why the DPP decided not to prosecute anyone for Kieran’s death, Susan says the DPP has not been forthcoming.

In a statement to the Sunday World, a garda spokesman said the into the death of Kieran Monahan “remains open.”

“Following the death of Kieran Monahan, a thorough Garda Investigation was carried out and a file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed that there be no prosecution.”

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