A 46-year old man is facing life in prison for stabbing to death a 21 year old Ennis man following a row over the rules of pool.
Englishman, Lyndon Smith, from Owen Road in the west Midlands town of Bilston, Wolverhampton is to be sentenced this Thursday (March 15th) after a jury last Friday at Birmingham Crown Court found him guilty of murdering John Joyce.
The father of four had been playing pool with Mr Joyce and his friends in The Market Tavern, Church Street, Bilston on August 17th last year when a row broke out over the rules of pool.
Smith – who had drank up to 10 pints of lager – left the pub but returned later that evening armed with a 14 cm knife‘storming around like a man possessed’ and later attacked the Clare man as he headed towards a taxi rank in Bilston High Street.
During the fight, Mr Joyce – formerly of Beechpark, Ennis was stabbed four times; paramedics performed emergency CPR and used a defibrillator in the back of an ambulance but despite their efforts he died at the scene.
A post-mortem revealed he died from a stab wound to the chest.
Smith was arrested on suspicion of murder by officers a short time later
and claimed he had acted in self-defence.
However, a jury unanimously on Friday found him guilty of murder after deliberating their verdict over the space of three days.
Mr Joyce’s family, who had travelled from here for the two-week trial, wept in the public gallery as the verdict was announced.
At the time, Mr Joyce was ‘on the run’ from the authorities here as last June at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys issued a bench warrant for his arrest after Garda Robert Grant gave evidence that Mr Joyce had fled the jurisdiction.
Mr Joyce was before the court here for his role in a serious assault on a
a teenager, Danny Harty where Mr Harty required 200 stitches to his face.
Last November at Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Keys jailed Mr Joyce’s brother, Brian for a six and a half years for the assault causing serious harm to Danny Harty and the assault to Mary Harty.
Judge Keys suspended the final 18 months of the jail term having regard to Mr Joyce’s medical condition where he was brain damaged during a prison assault in October 2016.
In court, Brian Joyce was holding a photo of John and Rosary beads and he told the court that “my heart is broken” over the death of his brother, John.