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THE heartbroken parents of a teenager savagely beaten to death after a night out slammed Ireland's drink culture yesterday.

Devastated Larry and Annie Mulvaney tearfully told how their 19-year-old son Brian "died for no reason".

Brian Willoughby, 24, was yesterday found guilty of his murder and 18-year-old Stephen Aherne guilty of manslaughter.

A third man, 20-year-old Neal Barbour, who tripped up Brian Mulvaney during the March 2000 attack, was acquitted.

All three are from the upper-class Templeogue area of Dublin, but Aherne recently moved to Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Holding hands outside the Central Criminal Court, Mr and Mrs Mulvaney and their daughter Aoife, 18, told how the drink culture had contributed to Brian's death.

Mr Mulvaney from Firhouse, Dublin, said: "He died for no reason at the hands of guys he never met before.

"It's a problem that has to be addressed. Some people spend their nights going drinking for kicks - they pick on someone to beat up. It's a sad day when that happens."

But the couple vowed: "Life does not end for us today. They've killed our son but they won't destroy us."

During the three-and-a-half week trial, it was claimed the three acted together as a gang when they bludgeoned Brian to death. They all denied the charges.

Horrific evidence had been given about the victim's injuries by former State Pathologist Dr John Harbison.

They included 20 main injuries, five of which Brian sustained as he desperately tried to defend himself from the blows raining down on his body.

There were cuts to his face, neck, chin and shoulders, his eyelids and forehead were swollen and bruised and his right cheek "grossly swollen".

The main cause of death was due to a large amount of blood in his lungs which he could not cough up because he was knocked unconscious.

Heavy-set Willoughby, who showed no emotion as he was convicted of murder, was alleged to have told gardai that he said during the attack: "Ha, ha, ha, this is carnage boys, this is deadly." Brian's attacker had walked with him to the shops in Templeogue from a house party minutes before the attack.

Aherne had said in his statement he had been at the party and drank 10 pints of Budweiser and a Sambuca.

He told how he boxed Brian in the back of the head and "got a bit carried away", adding that Willoughby started hitting him with a plank.

Aherne said later: "I feel like s**t, I can't put it into words. I wasn't in my right mind when I did it. I shamed my mother and father and I feel horrible."

Willoughby's defence claimed he was not responsible for his actions because of his mental state.

Willoughby, who had been taking medication for mood swings and suffered from depression, told officers: "I was spaced out of my head, you know.

"That night I was not responsible for what I did, I had taken a mixture of drugs and drink.

"I was kicking him and jumping on his head when he was on the ground. I went berserk and I am sorry for the family." Brian died in Dublin's Tallaght Hospital two hours after the attack. It had been claimed that Willoughby, from Orwell Park, Templeogue, first met Brian at the party and was jealous of his relationship with a girl he liked.

Mr Justice Barry White told the five-man, seven-women jury when he was summing up the case: "He [Willoughby] blames the events of the night on hash and on gargle. He blames it on the fact that he was spaced out of his head."

Willoughby's mother had told the court her son had been an irritable baby, hyperactive and considered disruptive.

Constantly in trouble at school, he was often put out of class for daydreaming and not paying attention.

By the age of 12 he complained about hearing voices in his head and was frightened of death.

A psychiatrist said Willoughby, who often crouched over the court bench during evidence, was homophobic and had a strong hatred of homosexuals.

He said he had classical symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and because of his mental disorder did not know right from wrong. A doctor for the state, however, said that while Willoughby did suffer from an abnormality of the mind, he did have the capacity to know what he was doing.

There was a tense silence in the court at 4pm yesterday as the jury announced its verdict after seven hours of deliberation.

Mr Justice White said it had been a "difficult case" for everyone and excused the jury from service for the rest of their lives.

He added: "I would say that from my point of view, and I think from the point of view of every one of the lawyers involved, it is a verdict that everyone would agree with."

Mrs Mulvaney said: "I'm glad it's over, it's been very long. After three years of waiting it's good to get it over.

"Brian was full of life, he loved life and he was gorgeous. They [the convicted] are gurriers and scumbags. He loved life and he was a good guy.

"You do feel in court that it is very much in the defendants' favour, we are the victims.

"You have young people today going out for fun and part of their fun is to inflict pain on others and our society seems to accept that."

Willoughby, already serving five years in jail for two serious assaults, now faces life behind bars.

Aherne was remanded in custody for sentencing on May 26.


CONVICTED; Murderer Brian Willoughby yesterday; CONVICTED; Stephen Aherne at court yesterday; CLEARED; Neal Barbour was acquitted yesterday; VICTIM; Brian Mulvaney from Firhouse, Dublin, was murdered in a street attack on March 11, 2000. The 19-year-old had several injuries and died two hours later from a large amount of blood in his lungs which he could not cough up; FAMILY; Parents Larry and Annie Mulvaney with their daughter Aoife walking united from the Central Criminal Court yesterday after hearing the jury return guilty verdicts on Willoughby for murder and Aherne for manslaughter
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 3, 2003
Previous Article:The Scurra.
Next Article:THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR; Murder victim invited killer into home.

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