Life sentence for 19-year-old who lured teenager into a 'fatal trap'
on 05/02/2013 00:00:00
When the 19-year-old arrived at a youth centre, he was set upon by Kirwan and a number of other youths who chased him into a dead end at a Dublin apartment complex.
Kirwan, now aged 19, then stabbed Mr Byrne nine times, once in his face and eight times in his back.
His heart and lungs were punctured and one of the fatal wounds was 20cm deep. Mr Byrne, of Davitt House in Drimnagh, died in hospital shortly afterwards.
Kirwan of Cooley Road, also in Drimnagh, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Byrne at Emmet Court, Inchicore, Dublin.
However, the jury reached a unanimous verdict of guilty after deliberating for over four hours.
The Central Criminal Court heard from a number of residents of Emmet Court, who had seen the chase or assault.
Imes Kmiecik said she saw three people running away from the scene and that the last person to leave had a 30cm knife.
The jury also watched CCTV footage captured on various cameras between the youth centre and apartment complex.
Footage of St John Bosco Youth Centre showed people running and hiding before Mr Byrne's arrival into what the prosecution described as "an ambush".
Further footage showed Mr Byrne being chased from there into Emmet Court by a number of youths, most closely by a man in a grey hooded tracksuit. They both disappeared off camera for some time before the person in the grey hoodie reappeared and followed the other youths out of the complex.
A close-up was shown in which the person in the grey hoodie looked back. A garda had recognised that person as Kirwan.
Kirwan was also captured on CCTV after the attack, at a take-away in Drimnagh where another youth pointed to something on his hoodie. The State suggested it was blood.
Kirwan went outside and was seen taking off the hoodie before returning inside wearing a green and white rugby shirt. He was still wearing this shirt when arrested at his home two days later.
Kirwan denied all involvement in the murder, but the State provided the jury with phone records, which showed he had been texting the victim pretending to be a girl called Sinead.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder on Kirwan who showed no reaction as he was led away.
Mr Byrne's father, David Hayes, spoke afterwards of his joy and delight at the verdict.
"We've been waiting for this day for a very long time.
"Justice is done," he added.
Mr Hayes explained that the victim's mother, Ann Byrne, died a month after his murder. "May she rest in peace and may David rest in peace with her."
The victim's aunt, Angela Byrne, described her nephew as a gentle giant. "He cared for his mam, who had cancer," she said. "He was just a lovely boy."