Father of five who stabbed man in street fight sentenced to six years for manslaughter

Andrew Lacey (35) stabbed Derek Reddin, with whom he had fallen out after a ‘drunken’ row, after Reddin attacked him with a baseball bat

A street fight between two grown men with families who loved and supported them has left seven children without their fathers, a judge of the Central Criminal Court has said.

On Friday Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring jailed father of five Andrew Lacey for six years for fatally stabbing Derek Reddin, who had two sons, after Mr Reddin attacked him late at night as Lacey walked home from the pub. The court had previously heard that there had been a number of violent incidents between associates of both men due to a falling out after a “drunken” row.

Ms Justice Ring said seven children are now without their fathers, two permanently and five temporarily.

“This is a case involving grown men with families who loved and supported them, fighting on the street in the late hours of an ordinary Monday. This all arose from some other similar grown men fighting. For this, a life was lost.”


The judge said that Andrew Lacey “holds the primary responsibility for the death of Derek Reddin” but there are “people in both families who should recognise the part they played in the events leading to this altercation. They should live with the events on their conscience, but this is outside the court’s jurisdiction.”

Having heard of Lacey’s family background and his record as a respected and hard worker for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s parks department since the age of 18, the judge said Lacey is not a person who should be before the court facing sentence.

“He should be with his family, but the decisions he made on October 14th, 2019 change all that and he bears all that responsibility. His family will have to deal with the consequences of those decisions.”

Ms Justice Ring set a headline sentence of eight years and six months but reduced that to seven years and six months having taken into account mitigating circumstances. She then suspended the final 18 months on the condition that Lacey be of good behaviour for three years after his release.

She said the only reason for the suspension is the difficulties Lacey’s children will face in the absence of their father “during critical years of their development”. Andrew Lacey (35) of Riverside, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Derek Reddin (31) at Loughlinstown Drive on a date unknown between October 14th and October 15th, 2019, both dates inclusive.

A ten-person jury cleared him of the murder charge but found him guilty of manslaughter. Ms Justice Ring said that on the night of the stabbing, Mr Reddin and a second man “came out of nowhere” as Lacey and his friend Mark Roe were making their way home having bought food from a takeaway after enjoying a night of drinking and darts in their local pub. She said there was evidence that Mr Reddin used a baseball bat in the assault.

“Whatever the background, nothing justifies attacking someone in those circumstances,” the judge said. Lacey was in possession of a knife but the judge said she would give him “the benefit of the doubt” that it was in his jacket pocket for use in his work and that he had “picked it [the jacket] up by chance as he was hurrying out the door”.

The three people who were at the scene and survived, including Lacey, all told lies at various stages about what happened, the judge said. The jury was left with the “unenviable job of finding their way through those untruths to try to reconstruct what took place.” The judge noted that nobody was able to locate the baseball bat but she accepted that Mr Reddin “attacked Andrew Lacey without warning”.

She said Lacey was entitled to defend himself and the production of the knife after being attacked with a weapon was “in itself not unreasonable”. However, she also noted that the marks on Lacey’s head that he alleged were caused by the bat did not break the skin, there were no other bruises and there was no suggestion that he was dazed from being hit.

The judge said the force used by Mr Reddin was not deadly force. She said the evidence suggested that Lacey got the better of Mr Reddin and “had him on the ground and used his knife to stab Mr Reddin”. In those circumstances, she said the use of the knife was excessive and fatal.

She found the use of the knife to be an aggravating factor and found that his initial denial to gardaí at the scene that the knife belonged to him showed that he “realised he had gone beyond reasonable self defence and wished to absolve himself of all responsibility for the death of Mr Reddin”.

Lacey entered a bond of €100 to be of good behaviour when he is released, having served his six-year sentence. Ms Justice Ring also backdated the sentence to June 15th last to take account of time Lacey has already served in custody.