DUBLIN, Ireland - The mother of a man who fatally shot his sister in a tragic accident has begged a judge to release her son.
Derek Boyd (28) told gardai that when he accidentally shot his 34-year-old sister with a loaded semi-automatic pistol last March, he committed "an unpardonable sin" for which he will pay for the rest of his life.
Boyd pleaded guilty last month to the manslaughter of his sister, Sandra Boyd, on March 19, this year, at his home in Collins Place, Finglas, Dublin. He also admitted to having an unlicensed semi-automatic pistol and ammunition.
The court heard Monday afternoon that the family had gathered on the night of Mrs. Boyd's birthday to celebrate and that, at one point, another sister was leaving, and the defendant was walking her out to the front door.
Boyd told Garda that he had armed himself with a gun a few weeks before after a "gangland" figure threatened him and his family after Boyd went to this man to ask why his teenage nephew had been beaten up.
He stated that he was still afraid of these threats on the night of the accident and was secretly holding the gun in his pocket as he walked his sister out. He had cocked the gun to arm it, and when he returned inside, he took it out while no one was looking to disarm it.
He claimed he was pulling back the slide to eject the bullet in the chamber when his finger slipped, and the gun fired. Boyd described an enormous bang and his sister collapsing.
He knelt by her side and began to say, "Please help her; I'm sorry." He left after hearing someone say, "She'll be fine; just run," and later told Garda he felt ashamed and sorry for leaving her like that.
The victim was still alive when Garda arrived, and they were told that a gunman had entered the house, shot her, and fled. She was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead after the bullet entered her chest and damaged her heart, causing massive internal bleeding.
The next day, a solicitor for Boyd contacted Garda to inform them that he was in a psychiatric ward and would provide a statement upon discharge. Three days later, he was released and arrested, presenting to Garda as "utterly heartbroken."
He told Garda that he loved his sister and would never intentionally hurt her. He stated that he desired to be punished.
He stated that naming the source of the gun would put his family in danger.
Mrs. Boyd testified before Judge Pauline Codd that the fatal shooting shattered their family and left her son "broken beyond compare."
"This nightmare will haunt him for the rest of his life." He will find it difficult to live his life." I beg you to please assist me in rebuilding my life and family, as well as to show mercy and send my son home so that we can begin to grieve as a family and help and support one another.
"Please don't take away my son." He's a good man who made a mistake and will pay the consequences for the rest of his life. "Please allow him to return home to his mother and children," Mrs. Boyd said.
She claimed that the tragic accident had broken her and that she had to bury her daughter while also "trying to save my son." Boyd, who has been in custody since his arrest, was allowed to leave the dock to embrace his mother after she finished her statement.