A UK man who used his SUV to repeatedly run over Irish boxing champion Kevin Sheehy has been found guilty of his murder.
The Central Criminal Court trial heard that the five times Irish boxing champion fought to get up off the ground after he was first hit but the UK-registered Mitsubishi Shogun vehicle ran him over twice again at speed.
The jury agreed with the prosecution’s case that Logan Jackson had deployed his vehicle as a murder weapon “as sure and as clear” as if it was a gun or a knife.
The 10 jurors took just two hours and 30 minutes to unanimously reject a defence of provocation put forward by Jackson, who had told gardaí that he felt “intimidated and provoked” after he claimed “three big fellas” threatened him and his cousin outside a house party.
As soon as the verdict was announced, huge cheers reverberated around the sixth floor of the Criminal Courts of Justice building from the approximately 50 people who could not get into Court 19 for the hearing and had gathered outside. A second cheer went up moments later when the family exited the court, as supporters wept and hugged each other.
The defendant, who has “some family connections” in Limerick, claimed that the men had attacked his 4×4 and that one of them had “whacked” his cousin and he had felt scared. However, he also admitted to gardaí that he was not under threat when he pulled out in the vehicle and “was angry and drinking” at the time.
The jury accepted the prosecution’s case that Jackson had “thundered” his vehicle into the 20-year-old before driving over him three times at speed. In his closing speech, counsel for the DPP, Dean Kelly SC, said Jackson could have kept driving instead of “flying into a murderous rage” and “thundering” his vehicle “like a Formula 1 driver” into the talented athlete. He said the evidence in the case “required and demanded” a verdict of guilty of murder.
The barrister said the defendant had attempted to lead gardíi “on a merry dance” by creating a “tapestry of self-serving lies” and that “the flavouring of the truth” had been employed by him in a fundamentally dishonest way.
Mr Kelly described the accused’s accounts to gardaí as “nonsense top to bottom, carefully told nonsense and carefully fabricated nonsense”. The CCTV footage, he said, had “settled” the issue of there being a crowd around his SUV that night and men attacking his vehicle.
Jackson (31), of Longford Road, Coventry, England had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Mr Sheehy’s (20) manslaughter at Hyde Road in Limerick city on July 1st, 2019.
The defendant, who has a prosthetic leg, was also found guilty on Monday on a second charge of endangerment.
He had denied intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to others to wit; driving a Mitsubishi vehicle dangerously at high speed in the direction of pedestrians on the same occasion.
Sportsman Kevin Sheehy was repeatedly run over by the vehicle and died as a result of multiple injuries, including a “catastrophic skull fracture”. His body was found lying on the road at about 4.40am after he had attended a house party to celebrate the Munster hurling final match.
The trial heard from Mr Sheehy’s cousin – Thomas Lysaght – who said that after the party, he tried to grab onto his “brother” before he was struck and “taken away” from him by the speeding SUV.
The court also heard that at around 4.40am on the night Mr Lysaght tried to pull Mr Sheehy off the ground but the vehicle “spun around” and came back towards them for a second time. “I had to let Kevin go and move away. He was dragged up the road,” Mr Lysaght told the trial.
The witness described how he then tried to divert the driver’s attention away from his cousin with his belt but that the SUV “went over” the deceased a third time before fleeing the scene.
Evidence was given that the boxer and Jackson had “an exchange” moments after leaving a house party where they had gone to celebrate Limerick’s Munster hurling final victory over Tipperary. The court was told that “some exception was taken by something that was said or words spoken”.
Mr Lysaght had testified that Ja