April 25, 2024

Nine years for killing nephew’s pal at party

A KILKENNY father-of-five who pleaded guilty to stabbing his nephew’s friend with a butcher’s knife has been sentenced to nine years in prison. Tadhg Butler (37), pictured above, with an address at Seafield House, Tramore, Co Waterford pleaded guilty last July to the unlawful killing of 25-year-old Michael O’Dwyer on 10 January 2014. Sentencing Butler last week, Justice Michael White said the headline sentence for the offence was between 12 and 14 years. Butler, who was previously known as Thomas O’Grady, told his trial last April that he accidentally stabbed O’Dwyer while taking a knife from his nephew to prevent him self-harming. The trial heard O’Dwyer had been drinking in Kilkenny with some other men when they went to the accused’s home in Tramore. The trial also heard that gardai who were called to the house on the night of the stabbing found the scene covered in blood and littered with cans of alcohol.

The accused’s nephew, Anthony O’Grady, had told gardaí that Butler walked over and stabbed his friend with a butcher’s knife. But when called to give evidence he said he couldn’t remember anything, that he was a drug addict with psychiatric problems and he accepted that his uncle’s version of events could be true. Aggravating factors included that Butler’s actions led to the death of a completely innocent man in violent and tragic circumstances. He also noted Butler’s criminal history and propensity to violence. Mitigating factors included that he showed genuine remorse and didn’t intend to cause serious injury.

Justice White backdated the sentence to when Butler went into custody. O’Dwyer’s brother Paul told the court that the family has no comfort knowing that Michael died “afraid and alone”. Butler was initially charged with murder over the death of O’Dwyer and first went on trial in April 2015, but the jury was discharged due to a legal issue on the first day. A second jury found him guilty a few weeks later and he received the mandatory life sentence. But that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal before a third trial this year ended when the jury could not agree a verdict. Following that, the State accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter.

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