TEARS WERE shed and fingers crossed in Albufeira court on Wednesday, May 9, as the verdict was read out in the trial which saw five men accused of murdering Irishman, Michael Ahern, on September 14, 2005.
Englishman David Figueira, who admitted to killing Ahern in self defence after an alleged altercation went wrong in the victim’s car, was sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison for murder and hiding a body.
Irish nationals Kevin McMullen, Brian Murphy and Alan O’Sullivan were also found guilty of hiding Ahern’s body in a freezer, at Figueira’s apartment in Albufeira, where it was discovered the following day by police. They were sentenced to two years in prison but as they have served 20 months, they were released on the day from Albufeira court.
The judges decided that Brad Curtis’ involvement in hiding the body was less than the others and was sentenced to 16 months, which he has served in full. He was also released. Judge Hermengarda Vale-Frias said that “they appeared to tell the truth about the events” as their versions of the events corresponded.
The Resident spoke to family members of the Irishmen, who said they were “extremely happy” about the outcome, while Figueira’s family were visibly distraught, as were the convicted Irishmen, who believed his sentence was too harsh.
The judges read out around 80 pages of text, which was written during their deliberation and included a recap of the events that transpired on September 14 and 15, 2005. They read out the penal code and what the law stated about sentencing people for certain crimes. They listed the amount of photographs taken during the course of the investigation and the evidence inventory. The judges reiterated statements made by the five men as well as witness testimony.
David Figueira is expected to appeal his sentence but, similarly, the procurator fiscal is also planning to submit an appeal to have the sentence increased to the maximum 25 years.
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