AN IRISHMAN has spoken of his remorse for fatally stabbing and killing a 23-year-old man in Ireland, 30 years after the incident.
Richard Kelly spoke to Joe Duffy on RTÉ's Liveline yesterday, April 20, when he expressed his regret for stabbing John Fox on March 1, 1987 in Sligo town.
Mr Kelly, who was 19 at the time, was sentenced to 10 years for the manslaughter of Mr Fox, but served six and a half years.
John Fox was originally from Tipperary but had gone to Sligo for the weekend when he was killed.
Mr Kelly explained how on that night, he had taken his hunting knife with him as he had been an avid fisherman and hunter with his father.
"I was very immature, uneducated," Mr Kelly said. "I thought it'd be a bit of fun to bring a knife and show it off to a friend.
"I bought a knife for the intentions of hunting and fishing, gutting fish, catching rabbits and preparing game.
"I had no intention of using it on a human," he said.
Mr Kelly explained how he and his friends got into an argument with Mr Fox and his friends, and a scuffle ensued.
Humans are supposed to be givers of life, not takers of life
However, he could not remember the incident accurately as he had been drinking heavily.
"I can't remember the actual incident, I was extremely intoxicated and I can't remember if I'd taken drugs that evening but we would have taken magic mushrooms and stuff like that in the past.
"We left the scene immediately, I was not aware that young man was fatally injured."
The gardaí who responded to the incident then found Mr Kelly and his friends while they were walking home and brought him to the station.
"I was taken in to the garda station, put in a room for a number of hours.
"One of the officers put his head around the door, and as coarse and cold as that, he said, you're f**ked now Kelly that young man's dead.
"That's how I found out," he said.
Mr Kelly said that he is "immensely remorseful" for his actions and pleaded with anyone considering carrying a knife, "Don't do it.
"If you don't have that knife on your person, you can't use that knife," he said. "If I could turn back time, if I could have John Fox back with his family again, I would make it happen in a heartbeat.
"It is a terrible thing to know you ended someone's life. Humans are supposed to be givers of life, not takers of life.
"I am immensely remorseful, I sincerely wish the incident never took place. A young man lost his life because of my actions," he added.
However, the brother of Mr Kelly's victim told an Irish newspaper that he took away Mr Fox's future.
"It took him 30 years to apologise. He said he took responsibility for what he did. But he stabbed my brother in the back, which was a very cowardly act," he said.
"If he thinks he's rehabilitated, fair enough, but he took my brother's life. He took away his dreams of a future in which John could have married and had a family.
"All of John's dreams are lying with him in a cold grave."