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THE heartbroken mum of manslaughter victim Brian Murphy yesterday told those involved in his brutal death: I can never forgive you.

Addressing the three men convicted for their roles in the attack that left 18-year-old Brian dead, Mary Murphy said: "I am clear. I cannot contemplate forgiveness until I hear the truth... until those involved acknowledge their part in Brian's death."

Heads bowed and faces ashen, the three - Dermot Laide, Sean Mackey and Des Ryan - listened intently as Mrs Murphy told the packed court: "The lives of those convicted are not ruined if they can summon up the courage to tell the truth."

And pleading directly with Laide, convicted of manslaughter and violent disorder, and Mackey and Ryan, both convicted of violent disorder, she added: "The truth will set you free.

"If they had a conscience they would own up and take the consequences. The truth is lost here. Brian is lost here. I'm lost here."

Determined Mrs Murphy was speaking at the pre-sentence hearing in Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court of the former Blackrock College students.

She took the stand at 11.36am and spoke with unwavering resolve and raw emotion for 30 minutes.

She told for the first time how her life and her family's lives had been devastated since Brian's death outside club Anabel on August 31, 2000.

Before beginning, she handed Judge Michael White her favourite framed picture of Brian as well as a memorial card.

She began with a quiver in her voice, as husband Denis, daughter Clare and son Robert looked on.

She said: "I am here for Brian. This is the most nerve-wrecking thing I have ever done.

"I am also doing this for myself because I have remained silent for so long. My real motivation is my deep love for my son."

Speaking directly to the three men, she went on: "I was not there when Brian was savagely kicked to death.

"If I had been there you would not have succeeded in your quest to attack my baby because you would have had to kill me first."

She told the court how she had prepared her statement for weeks.

Despite writing down her thoughts and emotions she said she could not describe how "we were told not to touch Brian's body in case we destroyed evidence".

She also said she could not describe fully the effect of seeing Brian as he "lay dead on a hospital bed with his two front teeth smashed".

It was also difficult, she said, to describe seeing Brian lying "in a coffin with my rosary beads around his hands and Brona's [his younger sister] private letter to him in his hand."

She also said it was impossible to convey the "devastation I felt at Mount Jerome crematorium as the curtains closed on Brian's coffin as his favourite song, November Rain [by Guns & Roses] was played."

Nor was it possible to convey the emotions she felt as she carried his ashes home that day.

She also described to the court how Brian's death had left an emptiness in her heart and at home.

In a flood of emotion Mrs Murphy called out: "Where is my baby. He's lost. I'm lost. The family is lost. Where is my Brian."

Mary went on to talk of her son as her "best friend" and close confidant. She recalled a young man full of life, humour, kindness and fun.

She said: "He was naive, a far from perfect child who did some silly things, but some fabulous things as well.

"He was a free spirit, larger than life with a special character that drew people to him.

"He was also highly intelligent. He had an exuberant personality that refused to be quashed.

"Brian had time for everyone, from every walk of life and from every background. He liked people for who they were.

"He was a brilliant listener. He was so open. There was no pretence about Brian. What you saw was what you got, warts and all.

"He was a leader. He was full of humour." She also told how despite his tender age, her beloved son had an appreciation for the finer things in life.

She recalled how he boasted to her how he could recite every poem on the Leaving Certificate course, such was his love of poetry.

He also had a passion for painting and mountains. Mrs Murphy said: "He loved mountains. Mount Fuji is on his memorial bookmark. That was a place he longed to visit."

Referring to the incredible bond that existed between them, she said: "To me he was my best mate.I miss the fun we had together.

"I remember his 18th birthday. We went into town and bought his present. I remember the camaraderies between us as we chatted over lunch.

"He told one of his friends, 'Mary understands me'. That gave me great consolation." Mrs Murphy also told how she couldn't cry for her lost son. She said: "I couldn't shed a single tear. The pain was numbing. There was no outlet. With anger, over time, came the tears.

"I have great difficulty feeling sadness. The devastation... it will never go away."

She also told how she is trying to come to grips with her son's last thoughts as he was battling for his life.

Mrs Murphy said: "What was the horror, the terror like for him. He must have been pleading in his mind for somebody to help him."

She also slammed suggestions Brian had been in a "group" when he was attacked and said: "If Brian was with a group he would have survived. They would have saved him."

She also recalled how Brian's death had a devastating impact on his little brother Robert who was just six when he died.

Mrs Murphy told how Brian, a Spurs fan, Liverpool supporter Robert and dad Denis loved playing and watching football together, but that was now all gone.

She said: "All Robert has now is Brian's photograph, his teddy bear and an old Spurs shirt he sleeps on when he is particularly sad.

"He goes through phases of sadness. He cries and says, 'I miss Brian'."

She also told how the trial had "brutalised" her, adding: "I have felt under attack in this courtroom over the last seven weeks.

"I have felt brainwashed into thinking that what happened to Brian was his own fault.

"The repetitive nature of the evidence has desensitised us. I felt caught in a battle with each side trying to win points. Brian becomes lost."

She also told how several phrases and words would remain in her memory for ever.

She said: "Phrases such as I heard his head snap, crack and go soft. We got him good. This is great craic. A wave of feet. Behaving like animals. New shoes kicking him. Fell flat on his face without his arms going out."

Ending her stunning statement, Mrs Murphy said: "As a family we have to get on with our lives.

"I know I will survive as Brian has survived. I am not afraid of death anymore. I look forward to Brian's outstretched arm as he wraps me in his warm embrace."

She also described a dream in which Brian comes back to say sorry, adding emotionally: "The fact Brian came back is a sign he is still alive."


THE devastated father of Brian Murphy told yesterday how the trial of those accused of killing his son shamefully avoided the truth.

Denis Murphy told a packed Dublin Circuit Criminal Court sentence hearing how the outcome had left a "gaping wound" because only one person had been convicted of Brian's death, despite evidence six people were involved.

He said: "Before the trial started we did think that the truth was a prospect.

"The events of the last seven weeks have changed all that.

"Brian was killed in a very public way in front of many people who had a clear view of what happened.

"Six people had surrounded Brian. It was not a fight. It was an assault on Brian.

"There were at least six people involved but only one conviction directly relating to his death.

"Where are the others, where are they and who knows about it all?"

"There are now more questions than there are answers.

"There is evidence of only a single kick to Brian as he lay on the ground.

"There must be several people out there, or even in this courtroom, who saw everything that happened that night and can answer the questions that remain." He added forcefully: "The trial process was not about the truth. It was about shamelessly avoiding it."

Mr Murphy said the tactics of the defence teams in "obfuscating", trying to intimidate witnesses and trying to get the jury discharged had been upsetting.

He also criticised attempts by one member of the defence team to establish Brian was drunk on the night he died.

He said: "Dr [John] Harbison's evidence puts lie to that story and that needs to be acknowledged."

Mr Murphy also told the court of the moment he received a call from one of his son's friends at 3.45 on the morning he was killed.

He said that burying a child was the hardest things you could ever do.

The distraught father added: "We bury our own parents and our children bury us, that's the way it's supposed to be.

"We didn't get a chance to touch him before he died.

"We have not allowed those who destroyed Brian's life to destroy ours and we never will."THE VICTIM'S SISTER

BRIAN'S sister Claire told the hushed court how her big brother's death and its aftermath had been like one long nightmare which is yet to end.

She told Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court 24: "I will never forget the wake-up call on the morning of August 31.

"It was like a bad dream to be greeted by my dad in tears at the hospital. That Brian was dead was inconceivable.

"It was at this moment that the nightmare began. It will never end. Brian and I were very close.

"I have inherited his friends. I see him in them every day."

She said her abiding, yet most heartbreaking memory, came on the day of Brian's funeral in September 2000.

Claire remembered: "We were waiting for Brian to be brought home for his wake. Robert [her six-year-old brother] was riding his bike in front of the house.

"Inside the house it was quiet. The mood was tense.

"Then as the hearse pulled up, Robert shouted, 'He's home, he's home'.

"The innocence was heartbreaking. Robert should have had years more with his big brother."

Claire, a year and four months younger than Brian, also told Judge Michael White how the only way she has been able to get on with her life is by blanking out how Brian had died.

She said: "I cannot make sense of the evil way he died. Now that the trial is over and I have listened over and over again to the evidence, I find it inconceivable that only one person has been found responsible for his death."

She rejected the defence drink had been a factor in her brother's death, saying: "Alcohol is not an excuse."

She too rejected the concept that all families involved in the trial had suffered a similar tragedy.

Claire said: "Brian did not ask to be killed, whatever happens to the others.

"Their families will always have them, but Brian will never return to us."


ANGRY: Dad Denis; GRIEF: Mary Murphy arrives at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday where she gave emotional speech
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 9, 2004
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