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Murderer who pleaded guilty to murder had been convicted 32 times before stabbing his neighbor

The criminal who beat the “generous soul” Christy to death had a long list of convictions before admitting the murder

Owen Maughan, of Dun Saithne Avenue, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, stabbed and beaten to death his neighbour Christy Hall (65) at his home in Dun Saithne Green, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, between 23 and 24 November 2021.

Maughan's pre-trial hearing, which began on Friday before Judge Paul McDermott at the Central Criminal Court, was expected to last two and a half weeks.

However, on Friday afternoon, Maughan indicated he wanted to stand trial and pleaded guilty to the charge of murdering Mr Hall, a father of three.

By the time of Christy's murder, Maughan was already well known to the Gardai in Balbriggan.

Murder victim Christy Hall

At a court hearing in July 2022, it was revealed that Maughan had stolen a copper cylinder worth 700 euros from a local hardware store five months before the attack on Christy.

Maughan pleaded guilty to theft from Chadwicks, Turvey Business Park, Donabate on 18 May 2021 and was sentenced to three months in prison.

Garda Aidan Fogarty said he received a call from the store's management on May 19 to report a theft that had occurred the previous day.

The Garda viewed CCTV and identified the defendant wearing a high visibility vest as he entered a back shop and took a copper bottle valued at €723.18.

Maughan was arrested after a timely arrest and charged with the offence.

At this point, Maughan was said to have already had 32 previous convictions, including four for theft.

On a previous occasion, Maughan was sentenced to one month in prison for threatening to break the nose of a security guard at Millfield Shopping Centre on 26 March 2020.

He had been denied entry to the supermarket before. When security staff reminded him of this, he became angry and threatened to break the security guard's nose.

During this incident, another member of the security team came over and Maughan was extremely abusive.

At an inquest into the death of Christy Hall in 2022, evidence was presented that he died from stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

A relative had previously praised Christy as a generous soul who would do anything for anyone, even the last euro in her pocket.

“Christy didn't have much money as he was living on his disability pension, but he would be happy to give you every last euro from his pocket,” she said.

Christy, a former employee of Dublin County Council, was originally from Garristown and lived for a time in Whitechapel in Clonsilla before moving to Balbriggan following an accident 20 years before his death.

“After the accident, no one expected him to survive. But he did, after being on life support for a long time. After that, he was no longer able to work,” said the relative.

“He couldn’t climb stairs because the head injury affected his balance, and that’s why he was given the house he was in.

“He had two daughters and a son and Christy adored them. He was really gentle and easy-going.

“He couldn't see any fault in anyone. If someone was short of money, he would say, 'Go there and take this.' He gave money to anyone who needed it.

“Nobody could ever say a bad word about him. He adored his children. As long as they were happy, he was happy.”

The relative attacked Christy's killer at the time, saying: “Christy was one of those people who locked up early.

“So he would have had to unlock the door from the inside to let the person in, and he wouldn't have done that if he didn't know who he was opening the door to.

“And that's the terrible thing about it. Because he would have happily opened the door when he saw this person.

“But this animal came for a different reason.”

Following Maughan's guilty plea on Friday, Judge Paul McDermott ordered a victim impact report to be prepared and remanded him in custody until Maughan is remanded in custody on July 8, when he is expected to be sentenced to the mandatory life sentence.