Caherciveen man given eight-and-a-half-year sentence for manslaughter

A Caherciveen man convicted of manslaughter in south Kerry has been given an eight-and-a-half-year sentence.

21-year-old Blake Sweeney of Fertha Drive, Caherciveen, had pleaded not guilty to murdering 33-year-old Robert Elston of Lisselton in the Caherciveen estate on May 23rd last year.

In August, a jury of seven men and five women at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Limerick took just over three-and-a-half-hours to return their unanimous verdict finding Blake Sweeney not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Robert Elston.

Following a dispute between the two men, the court heard the 33-year-old father of one went to Mr Sweeney’s family home, and set fire to his brother’s car.

Blake Sweeney armed himself with a butcher’s knife from his mother’s kitchen, went to a nearby house where Mr. Elston was socialising with friends and stabbed him twice in the stomach.

Mr Sweeney claimed Mr. Elston was armed with an axe, and while the jury heard an axe was found in the house, those who were there didn’t support his claim.

Mr Sweeney was represented by Mark Nicholas SC, barrister Katie O’Connell and solicitor Padraig O’Connell.

Today at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Tony Hunt handed down an eight-and-a-half-year sentence to Mr Sweeney and suspended the last 18 months.

The sentence was backdated to May 23rd 2018.