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 manâ€™s partner complained that Mr Murphyâ€™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 Murphyâ€™s family were seated.
In his victim impact statement the victimâ€™s father, Sean Murphy Snr, said his familyâ€™s lives were shattered after his son was â€œbrutallyâ€ taken from them and he said they have been left with â€œgrief and loss as a daily companionâ€.
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 sonâ€™s friends to remember the â€œlarger than lifeâ€ figure who was the â€œlife and soulâ€ of every party and he urged them to celebrate his life.