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'Huge impact' Limerick man (37) jailed for brutal killing of his live-in-landlord in London

Lenihan had fled the morning his landlord's body was found but was traced by detectives to a hotel in Telford, Shropshire.

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Damien Lenihan

Damien Lenihan

Damien Lenihan

A Limerick man has been jailed after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his live-in-landlord Marek Smalec at an address the pair shared in London.

Scaffolder Damien Lenihan (37) of Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge, admitted to the manslaughter of 48-year-old Smalec at a hearing at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday, November 4.

The judge sentenced Lenihan to a total of six years’ imprisonment.

Lenihan and Marek were staying at an address in Hillingdon Hill when Marek’s body was found deceased in his bedroom on the morning of July 5 by another tenant.

Lenihan is originally from Limerick but had been living in the UK for a number of years where he worked in construction.

A post-mortem examination revealed that he had suffered a brain injury caused by a single blow to the head.

There was no evidence that a weapon had been used.

Witnesses reported that the two men had been arguing prior to Marek’s death.

Lenihan had fled the address on the morning Marek’s body was found but was traced by detectives to a hotel in Telford, Shropshire where he was arrested on July 9.

An investigation found that Lenihan had tampered with security cameras at the address in Hillingdon Hill, prior to fleeing.

Analysis of his mobile phone also showed he had deleted information from his device.

When interviewed by officers following his arrest, Lenihan made no comment but he later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

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Detective Chief Inspector Claire Hine who led the investigation said: “As soon as Damien Lenihan had attacked Marek, his first thoughts were for himself. He left Marek injured in his bedroom and promptly packed his bags and fled.

“While he may not have intended to kill Marek, Lenihan would have known he had injured him – however, instead of calling for help he attempted to cover his tracks; this shows the sort of person he is.

“This has been a terribly distressing time for Marek’s family but I can only hope that Lenihan’s admission to his part in Marek’s death can help them move on from this tragedy.

A victim statement from Mr Smalec's daughter Eileen highlighted the devastating effects that her dad's death has had on her family, including her mum and her little brother.

She said: "My dad was a kind-hearted person who never wanted to hurt anyone. He was well-loved by everyone and would do anything to help people.

"He was a very cheerful person and if anyone was feeling down, he would try and lift them up. He would give time to anyone who needed it.

"My dad's death has had a huge impact on my education.

"I have emotional outbursts often and I am unable to take part in conversations on my course that involve murder or violence.

"The loss of our dad has been huge both emotionally and financially on our family. I miss his voice and his advice - sometimes I forget that he has gone.

"He will never get to see me grow up and see what I accomplish in my adult life. My dad was patient and kind and was a great support to me, my brother and my mum."

In mitigation, defence lawyer Giles Cockings said that Lenihan was genuinely remorseful for his actions, and that he should be entitled to a reduction in his. sentence for pleading guilty at an early stage of the legal proceedings

He added: "The defendant did not intend for this to happen, and he has admitted that he was wrong to take the black cameras. He did it out of panic."

During sentencing, Judge Rosa Dean told Lenihan: "This is a case where you pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of an unlawful act.

"You have been in trouble before for a range of offences, you told lies about your location and you gave police the run-around to a very significant degree."

He was sentenced to six years in prison, but was told he would likely get out after serving half of the sentence.

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