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Worn out by years of abuse,terrified Gerry Connell took a shotgun from under his bed and killed his psychotic son; DAD GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER.

Byline: NIAMH NOLAN

A FATHER who blasted his psychotic son to death with a shotgun was found guilty of manslaughter yesterday.

Gerry Connell killed 25-year-old Barry after suffering years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his only son.

The court heard that Barry had threatened to drive a tractor through the family home at Clyduff West, Lisnagry, Co Limerick.

Connell, 54, told the jury he was "worn out" and "scared" when he took his gun from under his bed and went outside and shot Barry.

The Central Criminal Court heard the incident on June 9, 1999, took place after a series of arguments.

The jury was told that Barry had been diagnosed as suffering from acute manic psychosis.

John Edwards, for the prosecution, told them: "Barry Connell was responsible for verbal and physical aggression, directed principally against his family.

"This had caused a great deal of stress and tension in the household and for Gerry Connell."

A month before the shooting, Barry's father signed him into a psychiatric unit but he was back home within days.

Deputy state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy told the court that Barry died as a result of shotgun injuries.

Two shots were fired, one of which was fatal, she added.

Connell said the court he was "deeply sorry", adding: "I didn't set out to hurt anyone."

Describing the case as a "nightmare and a disaster for the Connell family", defence lawyer Brendan Nix said the case was unique.

He added: "This has been a unique case in my experience, every prosecution witness spoke up for the accused man.

"This has been a very unusual case because the defence has not taken a pick of a difference with the evidence presented by the prosecution."

The jury returned its verdict by a majority of 10 to two after deliberating for seven-and-a-half hours.

Clearing Connell of murder, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie put back sentencing on the manslaughter conviction to next Tuesday.

The trial heard that Gerry Connell was originally from Co Cavan before moving to England.

He returned from England with his wife, Noreen, to live in her family home in Clyduff West around 27 years ago.

Mrs Connell died in April 1999, six months after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Connell worked as a gatekeeper with Iarnrod Eireann, a job he shared with her until she fell ill.

The couple had one son, Barry, and three daughters.

Two daughters of the accused were in court to hear the verdict.

CAPTION(S):

LOYAL: One of his daughters yesterday; CONVICTED: Connell yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 11, 2001
Words:426
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