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Man jailed for life for murder of neighbour with machete

A 52-year-old man who carried out what was described as a merciless and ferocious attack on his elderly neighbour with a machete has been sentenced to life in prison for murder.

Patrick McDonagh had admitted the manslaughter of 73-year-old Peter McDonald at his home in Clonsilla, Co Dublin, but earlier this week the jury at his trial found him guilty of murder.

Mr McDonald was described in court as kind, timid and reserved.

In a victim impact statement, his younger brother Eoin said that he was a proud man who lived a simple life.

He looked after his cats at his home on Whitechapel Road, fed the birds in his garden and walked to the shop for his newspaper.

The court heard that he got on well with McDonagh, who had a history of psychiatric illness.

But in the early hours of the morning of 25 July 2020, Mr McDonald rang gardaí concerned that his neighbour was chasing the cats in his garden.

Another neighbour had heard McDonagh threatening to kill Mr McDonald.

Patrick McDonagh attack Peter McDonald at his home in Dublin

Just minutes after gardaí left, McDonagh attacked Mr McDonald with a machete in his bathroom and continued the attack outside the house.

Mr McDonald’s brother said it had been very traumatic for the family to listen to the witnesses at the trial and see the weapon used.

He said he could not imagine the impact on those who heard his brother’s screams and cries for help.

The court heard Mr McDonald and two of his six siblings had grown up in an orphanage after their father walked out when he was seven and their mother had cancer.

He had worked as a builder in London and was a father, grandfather and uncle.

During the trial a defence psychiatrist gave evidence that McDonagh was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

However, a psychiatrist for the prosecution said any abnormality in his mental state was more likely caused by his use of cannabis.

The court was told McDonagh wanted to apologise and convey his remorse for what had happened.

Mr Justice Michael McGrath said the circumstances of the merciless, ferocious and sustained attack on Mr McDonald were truly shocking.

He said his family were clearly traumatised by what had happened and by the trial.

He sentenced McDonagh to the mandatory term of life in prison.

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