Man admits killing his brother in drunken row


A Fermanagh man who unwittingly left his brother to die after a drunken row asked to go back into jail yesterday.

Raymond Johnston, who admitted unlawfully killing his 33-year-old older brother David in July 2012, told Mr Justice Weir that, “mentally I’m ready to go to prison”, when asked if he wanted continuing bail until sentenced next week.

Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard that as 34-year-old Johnston washed himself of blood after “a wee row” with his brother, David bled to death.

Prosecution QC Terence Monney said David Andrew Johnston, who had six knife wounds, was found dead in the driveway of his brother’s Kinawley Road home in the Florencecourt area of Fermanagh in the early hours of July 13, 2012.

Mr Mooney said Mr Johnston’s wounds were potentially survivable, but combined with the amount of alcohol he’d consumed, his physical exertions both during and after the fight, and the lack of any medical intervention, they had proved fatal.

Defence QC John McCrudden said Johnston would forever have to bear the terrible burden of having killed his older brother.

Johnston, said Mr McCrudden, had been struck down by genuine deep and abiding remorse, also left distraught and suffering from very serious mental trauma which needed hospital attention.

Johnston was originally accused of murdering his brother, but this was withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to his manslaughter. He will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The lawyer said that from all available evidence things were amicable between the brothers with no underlying animosity. However, as they drove to Johnston’s home after celebrating the Twelfth in Enniskillen there was a trivial row but back at the house everything appeared fine until suddenly another trivial row broke out.

From somewhere David Johnston produced a knife and began brandishing it about, threatening to kill his brother and sexually assault his pregnant girlfriend, who was awakened by the disturbance.

The fight took the brothers outside. Johnston returned a short time later, heavily bloodstained.

“It was clear from what he told those present he thought his brother was still alive and his brother would return to the house, and that he and his brother had had, a wee row”.

In defence, Mr McCrudden said that right through all the documentation in the case it indicated that Johnston had never intended to kill or cause the death of his brother.