22-year-old 'tormented' vulnerable man, 65, before stabbing him to death in own home (2024)

The actions of a 22-year-old criminal who harassed and tormented a vulnerable man with a brain injury before stabbing him to death in his own home have been described by the victim’s family as ‘nothing but evil’.

Christopher Hall’s daughter Rebecca told the Central Criminal Court on Monday that the decision by defendant Owen Maughan to plead guilty to murdering her father does not change anything for her family, as it ‘does not undo or justify’ what he did and will not bring her father back.

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She added: ‘You took the life of an innocent and vulnerable man that had a brain injury, your murderous crime on him was heinous and barbarous and my family will always wonder why you did this. It was senseless, you took his life in his own home, where he lived alone, a place where he was supposed to feel safe and secure, your actions were nothing but evil’.

Ms Hall said she had found her father’s body on the floor between two chairs in their sitting room and that he was lying on his back in a pool of his own blood. ‘He was clothed but his clothes looked like they had just been thrown on to answer the door. I always think he must have only got out of bed moments before his life was taken’.

Ms Hall said she planned to bring her father to the garda station that day because Maughan had ‘harassed him and stolen from him days before taking his life’.

The testimony was heard as part of an emotional victim impact statement read on Monday to the Central Criminal Court, where Owen Maughan was sentenced to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murdering 65-year-old Christopher Hall. The sentence was backdated to July 4, when he went into custody.

22-year-old 'tormented' vulnerable man, 65, before stabbing him to death in own home (2)

Maughan of Dun Saithne Avenue, Balbriggan appeared at the court on Monday for his sentence hearing, having pleaded guilty last month at a Central Criminal Court pre-trial hearing to murdering Mr Hall at his home in Dun Saithne Green, Balbriggan, Co Dublin between November 23 and 24 2021, both dates inclusive.

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Paul McDermott noted on Monday that when cases come before the court and a plea has been entered, the focus ‘rightly falls on the victim of the crime’ and the consequences for the family, which he said he had heard ‘so eloquently expressed’ in the two victim impact statements. He said Mr Hall was ‘clearly very loved’ and he expressed his deepest sympathy to the family for their loss.

The judge thanked the Hall family for their statements saying that they ‘were very difficult to compose and they took a lot’.

Earlier, the court heard that Maughan has 39 previous convictions, 20 of which were committed as a child and 19 as an adult.

Defence counsel Philipp Rahn SC, for Maughan, said his client had anger issues and was hyperactive as a child but was doing well until he was 16 years of age. ‘He started committing offences, keeping bad company and started taking drugs, which became a real problem,’ he added. He said the defendant was taking alcohol and drugs at the time of this offence.

22-year-old 'tormented' vulnerable man, 65, before stabbing him to death in own home (3)

Mr Rahn said Maughan had written a short letter to the Hall family, where he wished to express his remorse but that he appreciated ‘no words on paper’ can make anything better. He went on to say that his client said there was no good reason for the senseless crime committed and he was not in the right frame of mind at the time but on drugs. ‘He can’t explain or put into words how sorry he is and he hopes one day he will find forgiveness,’ he said.

Garrett Baker SC, prosecuting, told the hearing that a postmortem was conducted by State pathologist Dr Heidi Okkers, who identified seven stab wounds on the deceased’s neck, one of which had penetrated the right internal jugular vein. The pathologist also noted blunt force trauma injuries on the right side of the head and a fracture to the right orbital bone.

Mr Baker said the pathologist was of the view that the blunt force injuries could have been caused by the handle of a knife.

The prosecutor said gardai became aware that the deceased’s daughter, Ms Rebecca Hall, had concerns about Maughan interacting with her father prior to the offence.

CCTV footage in the immediate area, the court heard, had captured Maughan at the deceased’s house on three occasions on November 23 and into the next day.

Detective Sergeant Noel Smith, of Balbriggan Garda Station, said the investigation revealed that Mr Hall was seen out and about after the first occasion, which meant Mr Hall was still alive at that point. He said it was believed Mr Hall was murdered by Maughan on the second visit that day.

22-year-old 'tormented' vulnerable man, 65, before stabbing him to death in own home (2024)

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