Limerick man jailed for life for murdering neighbour

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A LIMERICK man who stabbed his neighbour to death is beginning a life sentence after he was convicted of murdering the 29-year-old.

A LIMERICK man who stabbed his neighbour to death is beginning a life sentence after he was convicted of murdering the 29-year-old.

ichard Higgins. 42, who has an address at New houses Lattin, Co Tipperary but who is originally from Lenihan Avenue in the city had denied murdering Sean Murphy on January 17, 2010.

During the 12 day trial, which was heard at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Limerick, evidence was heard that Higgins stabbed his next-door neighbour with an ornamental dagger outside their homes in Lattin.

The jury was told the relationship between the next-door neighbours deteriorated a number of months before the killing after the accused man’s partner complained that Mr Murphy’s children had been behaving inappropriately.

During garda interviews following his arrest Higgins claimed he had been acting in self-defence as Mr Murphy has struck him with a timber stick.

The jury took just over five hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict.

They also returned a majority guilty verdict in relation to two counts of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Murphy and his partner, Paula Hassett, in October 2009.

Richard Higgins did not react when the court registrar read out the verdict of the jury but there were emotional scenes in the public gallery where members of Mr Murphy’s family were seated.

In his victim impact statement the victim’s father, Sean Murphy Snr, said his family’s lives were shattered after his son was “brutally” taken from them and he said they have been left with “grief and loss as a daily companion”.

Mr Murphy Snr refuted suggestions that his son was a violent man and he said his family had sought justice from the trial and not revenge.

He also appealed to all of his son’s friends to remember the “larger than life” figure who was the “life and soul” of every party and he urged them to celebrate his life.