July 21, 2024

‘We’ve had no justice’ – family of young Kilkenny man stabbed to death at party

THE family of a young Kilkenny man who died after he was brutally stabbed through the heart with a butcher’s knife have claimed the justice system failed their brother.

Michael O’Dwyer (25) died after he was savagely knifed in the chest at a house party in January 2014.

His killer Tadhg Butler (37), who was previously known as Thomas O’Grady, stabbed his fellow Kilkenny man before continuing to drink at a party in his home.

Butler has stood trial for murder on three separate occasions and was ­previously sentenced to life in prison for murdering Michael.

However, the O’Dwyer family were left devastated after the State accepted a plea of guilty to ­manslaughter after the murder ­verdict was overturned.

The victim’s brother Paul said in an interview with The Irish Sun: “This has taken a lot out of my ­family, it has really added to our grief. We have had to sit through three trials and for what?

“We can’t get it out of our heads the way Michael died, thinking of him and the way he died. Michael died at the hands of this man, afraid and alone.

“Michael was a quiet young fella who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Our life as we know is over, it can never be the same again. Yet Butler will be allowed to resume his life,”

Butler could be back on the streets as early as next year as his nine-year sentence for manslaughter was backdated to when he first went into custody in 2014.

He was initially charged with murder over Michael’s death 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.

However, that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal before a third trial earlier this year ended when the jury couldn’t agree a ­verdict. After that the State accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter.

Sentencing Butler for manslaughter last month, Justice Michael White noted Butler’s criminal history and propensity to violence.

Michael O’Dwyer’s family (pictured above by The Irish Sun) said they fear Butler will kill again when he’s released.

Paul added: “We’ve been left with no justice.”

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