An alcoholic who stabbed his 24-year-old neighbour to death has been told he will spend at least 13 years in jail for the “brutal, merciless, senseless killing”.
A judge said Barry Cavan’s dispute with victim David ‘Dee’ Corr over the playing of loud music “cannot begin to explain, never mind justify” his frenzied attack with a kitchen knife.
Cavan (25), of the New Lodge area of north Belfast, pleaded guilty to murdering the talented skateboarder and well known busker on March 15 2012.
Cavan inflicted 17 stab wounds and 22 other incisions on Mr Corr.
A wound to the chest caused his death but many of his injuries were to his arms and hands, “indicative of the deceased raising his hands to protect his head or by having grasped the knife”.
Cavan, who lived in the flat above his victim, called police and told the 999 operator he had killed his neighbour by stabbing him “30 or 40 times”.
When officers rushed to the bloody scene, Cavan was lying face down on the hallway floor and confessed: “There’s nothing justifies it – I killed him. I went down with a knife with the intention of killing him. I didn’t think I would actually do it.
“I asked him to stop a few times. He said he would stop but he didn’t and I just lost it.”
At Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Weir said Cavan had been complaining for three months about the volume at which his neighbour played his music in the early hours of the morning. He spoke to his neighbour, the flats caretaker and Belfast City Council.
He told a friend, known only as ‘S’, that he was thinking about stabbing Mr Corr.
About three hours before the murder Cavan, who had drunk around seven litres of cider that day, called into his neighbour’s flat.
The judge told the court Cavan had texted a friend “I’m in his flat now, kitchen knife in pocket” but ‘S’ told him to get out. After Mr Corr told him he would use headphones to listen to music in future, Cavan left.
He returned later. The judge described how the men were on the sofa and Cavan “began stabbing him and continued, despite his pleas and screams, to stab and cut him”.
“He tried to grab you by the arms before he collapsed onto the floor, fatally wounded, where you continued to stab him,” he said.
“He suffered a sustained, horrific attack from which you did not desist even when he had fallen incapacitated to the floor.”
Reports indicated that Cavan had a “harsh and frightening upbringing” and had attempted suicide, suffered episodes of self harm and misused drink and drugs from an early age.
The judge said that although Cavan did not suffer from a “recognised mental condition” and that a personality disorder did not afford him a legal defence of diminished responsibility for the killing, it was a mitigating factor.
Shaven-headed Cavan, who appeared in the dock in a white T-shirt and blue jeans, appeared non-plussed at the sentence.
Outside the court Mr Corr’s mother Noreen said she was “just glad it’s all over and I can get on with my life as best I can”.