A Ballina man, who murdered two elderly brothers in Castlebar six years ago, has lost an appeal against his conviction.

32-year old Alan Cawley of Four Winds, Corrinbla, Ballina had admitted killing 69-year old Thomas Blaine and his 76 year old brother John Jack Blaine at New Antrim Street in Castlebar on 10 July 2013, but denied it was murder. 

The Central Criminal Court heard that Alan Cawley had bludgeoned them with a shovel and one of their walking sticks. 

He argued that he had three mental disorders that had diminished his responsibility and was therefore entitled to a manslaughter verdict.

However, he was unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on 25 July 2017.

The court heard that Cawley was released from Castlerea prison four days before the killings and was provided with B&B accommodation in Castlebar. 

He bought a bottle of wine around 5pm on 9 July and was seen drinking three pints of Guinness in pubs later that evening

He had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other disorders as a child. 

He had also been diagnosed with two personality disorders as an adult, was often on heavy medication, had developed a dependence on alcohol and prescription drugs and was in and out of both hospital and prison.

Mr Cawley unsuccessfully sought to appeal his conviction on grounds that the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury on the issue of intoxication. 

Dismissing his appeal yesterday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said there was no basis for saying that intoxication and a mental disorder - "if there was one" - could have both played a part in causing Cawley to behave as he did. 

Mr Justice McCarthy, who sat with Ms Justice Máire Whelan and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said there were no errors in the judge's instructions and the appeal was therefore dismissed. 

 

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