Homeless man who stabbed friend to death on O’Connell Street has been found guilty of murder

A homeless man who stabbed his friend to death on Dublin’s O’Connell Street will be sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder by a unanimous jury decision in Central. criminal court on Thursday.

Damien Singleton (31) without any definite residence, had pleaded not guilty to murder but to murder Peter Donnelly (39), originally from Kilkenny on June 11, 2019, on O’Connell Street.

The case centered on whether Singleton, who was on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol at the time, was able to create an intention to kill Donnelly, which is a requirement for a murder sentence.

The jury dismissed the case defending that Singleton was intoxicated when he was unable to know what he was doing or to know the consequences of his actions.

The trial was run over a threatening audio message found on Mr Donnelly’s phone and it was a matter of state that how Singleton interacted with the deceased on the night should be taken into account by the jury.

Mr. Lorcan Staines SC, prosecutors, said the stabbing was “vicious and devastating”, adding that less than an hour earlier Singleton had voice-messaged Mr Donnelly, “I promise you, I will Will slit your f*****g throat. Pray I don’t get you. I’m going to kill you. You’re dead.”

“That’s exactly what he did. It’s murder, pure and simple” said Mr Staines In his concluding remarks to the jury.


On Thursday, a jury of six men and five women returned their unanimous guilty verdict after four hours and 23 minutes of deliberation.

M / s Justice Deirdre Murphy The matter was adjourned till December 3 for compulsory life imprisonment, when the statement of victim effect would be heard by the court.

This was the second test of a singleton after the first one collapsed last September. The first trial was abandoned after one of the jurors believed that he overheard Gardai discussing witnesses’ statements in the courtroom.

At that hearing, prosecutors told the court that Gardai “did not discuss the witness’ statements at all” in the courtroom, but submitted that the jury should be discharged because of the assumption made by him that his One of the members had overheard the discussion.

The trial heard Mr Donnelly died in the early hours of June 11, 2019, from stab wounds to his aorta and jugular vein, caused by a knife Singleton had placed in the bottoms of his tracksuit.

The court also heard that the two men were with each other three nights before the murder.

At noon on 10 June, Mr Staines said Mr Donnelly took a bus to Kilkenny to pick up his doll, which had been delivered to a social welfare office there. At 4 p.m., Mr Donnelly caught a bus to Dublin and got off close to O’Connell Street.

The prosecution’s barrister told the court that Mr Donnelly had been “walking around” the O’Connell Street area from 6 p.m. on June 10 and was in the company of a woman until about midnight.

In his closing speech to the jury on Tuesday, Steins said there was no issue that Singleton killed Donnelly because a guilty plea was filed.

Mr Staines said the issue for the jury was whether Singleton intended to “kill or cause grievous hurt” when he stabbed Mr Donnelly twice on O’Connell Street.

He said Mr Donnelly made “repeated and apparent attempts” at night to move away from Singleton. “There’s no self-defense in this case, you don’t see Mr. Donnelly being aggressive, he was carrying a Coke bottle,” Mr. Staines said, referring to the CCTV seen by the jury.

It has been the case of the prosecution that there was no point of provocation and that “the only issue is intent” regarding the charge of murder.

Mr Staines said that “in law” being intoxicated with drugs or alcohol was not a defense and that it only applied if the defendant was either unable to know what he was doing or to know the consequences of his actions. Was.

The court heard that Singleton had a 30-minute conversation with Garda nicola torsny, who was on patrol on O’Connell Street, discussing their family, relationships, travels England and their meritorious achievements. He had hugged Garda and thanked him for listening.

A few minutes later, Gda Torsney heard screaming and saw Singleton, Mr. Donnelly, and a woman.

Garda became concerned and instructed on the radio that these two men should be seen,” he said.

“On his instructions, the CCTV cameras went to chase these two men,” he said.


The barrister said that the defendant had earlier thrown the knife into a bin, but later on CCTV could be seen taking something out of the bin. He then contacted Mr Donnelly, which resulted in a knife attack outside the ‘Dr. Quirky’s Good Time Emporium’.

Defense barrister Michael Bowman SC stated that his client had not used drugs or alcohol as an excuse and that Singleton had already pleaded guilty to the murder of Mr Singleton’s father.

Mr Bowman Said that both the defendant and the accused went into “similar, difficult circumstances”.

Mr Bowman had argued that Singleton’s mention of having a knife in his waistband was cited by prosecutors in a “narrower perspective” and asked the jury to “retract”. He said Mr Donnelly knew Singleton was carrying a knife and that the GDA knew of Torsney Singleton being the victim of an attack that saw his “face cut off”, bringing his chin down to his forehead. Till there was a mark.

The barrister said that the benefit of the doubt in criminal jury trials was “not to give way to a rookie, nor to give protection to a rookie”, but that the jury should have sided with the defence, even though a reasonable finding was less in Singleton’s favor. . There is likely to be more than one made by the prosecution.

Mr Bowman described the defendant and the deceased as “soldier through intoxication”, adding that Mr Singleton had no “murder intent” towards his “friend”.

He said his client had also given Mr Donnelly €50 earlier that day and wished him well as the deceased boarded a bus to collect his social welfare payments.

After a doctor’s examination it was found that alcohol, morphine, benzodiazepines and cocaine were in Singleton’s system at night.

Mr Bowman said that during a conversation with GDA Torsney at night, Singleton’s “emotions were eroding and flowing from distress, to pride, to sadness”. However, Gda Torsney told the lawsuit that she did not believe Singleton was intoxicated at the time of their conversation.

Mr Bowman described his client as an “emotional rollercoaster” and said he “was also oblivious to the fact that he had cocaine in his system”.

Mr Bowman said his client’s mind was “contaminated, contaminated with a cocktail of alcohol and drugs” and that he was “barely coherent” at the time of his arrest. Mr Bowman argued that while the case was a “disturbing and tragic one”, his client’s state of mind meant that Mr Donnelly could not have intended to kill Mr Donnelly and that his “blame rested on the murder”. Yes, not on murder”.

In her charge to the jury on Wednesday, Justice Murphy said it was up to the jury to decide whether Singleton while intoxicated with “drugs and/or alcohol” had made him incapable of making an intention to kill Donnelly, who The defense had argued in the trial.

The judge said that at around 11 a.m. after the stabbing, when a doctor sought consent for surgery for Mr Singleton’s injuries, he found her “inconsistent, out of it”. Ms Justice Murphy said that if the jury had doubts about Mr Singleton’s ability to make intent, “the answer is murder but if there is no doubt, the verdict is murder”.

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