Tragedy occurs when restraint is set aside

The brutal slaying of Robert Elston by Blake Sweeney in Cahersiveen last year was an appalling crime and an enormous human tragedy.

Blake Sweeney killed the 33-year-old father of a young boy by stabbing him twice after following him to a house near his family home. Imposing sentence this week, Mr Justice Tony Hunt noted that before the knifing Robert Elston set fire to a car outside the Sweeney home and at the time of the fatal confrontation, Robert Elston was armed with an axe. A jury found Sweeney not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter and now he will serve five years and three months behind bars for the crime, when remission is taken into account. This case illustrates what happens when people take the law into their own hands, when tempers are not allowed to cool, when restraint is set to one side.

Now, in a desperate act of sorrow and regret, Blake Sweeney’s mother Veronica has asked the Elston family to forgive her son.

It’s all so tragic - especially when the Elstons may feel that the sentence handed down by Judge Hunt is lenient and doesn’t fully reflect the fact that a life has been taken in such an unwarranted manner.

The manslaughter of Robert Elston was a dreadful injustice that will impact his family for their entire lives, and after that it will reverberate down the generations.