Waterford man sentenced to nine years in prison for killing nephew's friend

Waterford man sentenced to nine years in prison for killing nephew's friend

Tadhg Butler has been sentenced

A man who pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing his nephew's friend has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Tadhg Butler (37), 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 January 10, 2014.

Justice Michael White today said the headline sentence for the offence was between 12 and 14 years. 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. Mr O'Dwyer's brother Paul told the court that the family has no comfort knowing that Michael died "afraid and alone".

He said Tadhg Butler had shown no remorse and Michael's violent death will affect the family for the rest of their lives. Butler was initially charged with murder over the death of Mr 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 earlier this year ended when the jury could not agree a verdict. Following that the State accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter. 

Mr Butler, who was previously known as Thomas O'Grady, told his trial last April that he accidentally stabbed Mr O’Dwyer while taking a knife from his nephew to prevent him self-harming.

His nephew, Anthony O'Grady, told gardai that Mr 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.

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