Man sentenced for killing Irishman in violent and sustained attack in West London

Man sentenced for killing Irishman in violent and sustained attack in West London

A MAN who killed an Irishman in what police described as a violent and sustained attack has been sentenced.

James 'JJ' Donnelly, 45, who was originally from Thurles, Co. Tipperary, was found dead at his home in Hayes, West London on July 15, 2023.

Leo Pryce, 22, entered a plea of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility at a hearing on January 12.

At the Old Bailey on Thursday, he was sentenced to a Hospital Order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

"I cannot begin to imagine the pain and distress James Donnelly's family endured following this horrific incident and I hope that Leo Pryce's conviction will bring them some solace," said Detective Chief Inspector Matt Webb from the Met's Homicide Team.


Pryce, of Blair Close in Hayes, had befriended Mr Donnelly in the weeks leading up to the attack.

However, the younger man was suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia and attacked Mr Donnelly in his home in Station Road.

Police were called to the location by the London Ambulance Service on the morning of July 15 after discovering Mr Donnelly's body.

James Donnelly was originally from Co. Tipperary (Image: via Met Police)

He had been the victim of a sustained assault and had suffered stab injuries.

A knife was recovered at the scene, which forensic testing confirmed was the murder weapon.

Detectives quickly identified Pryce as the suspect following accounts provided to police by witnesses at the scene and he was arrested the following day.

Mr Donnelly — a former soldier who served with Ireland's UN Peace Force — was laid to rest in his native Ireland on August 4, 2023.

Other charges

"I would like to thank the witnesses that provided accounts to police as this allowed us to establish what had taken place and to arrest Pryce at the earliest opportunity, safeguarding the public," added DCI Webb.

"This highlights the importance of our relationship with our communities."

At his hearing in January, Pryce also pleaded guilty to having an article with a blade or point on July 16, 2023 and two counts of assault on an emergency services worker.

At his sentencing, he was also made the subject of further restrictions under section 41 of the Mental Health Act.