Man Who Killed Friend by Stabbing Him 40 Times Escapes Guilty Verdict

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Criminal Courts Of Justice - Sean Heuston Bridge

A Wicklow man has been cleared of murdering a man he stabbed forty times in a row over drugs, but he has been convicted of his manslaughter.

Darren Houlden claimed he ‘lost control and snapped‘ when he attacked Stephen Kavanagh in his home at The Crescent, Meadowvale in Arklow.

Shortly after midnight on May 6th last year, Darren Houlden drove to Arklow Garda Station covered in blood.

He handed a bloodied knife to the garda at the hatch and said: “It’s my fault. I attacked him. It’s all on me.’

His trial heard he had been taking drugs all weekend with Stephen Kavanagh and Stephen’s girlfriend.

She said a row broke out when Stephen’s stash of crack cocaine went missing.

Houlden claimed he attacked him after being accused of taking the drugs. He said he was in fear of his life after Stephen threatened to call some men with guns.

He stabbed him forty times in the head, neck and face.

Defence barrister Brendan Grehan told the jurors this wasn’t a ‘cold-blooded killing‘ but rather a ‘hot-headed‘ one where his client was provoked into launching this “frenzied attack”.

After just over three hours considering the evidence, the jurors acquitted Houlden of murder but convicted him of manslaughter. He’ll be sentenced in the new year.