Devoted dad’s killer may die behind bars

Tragic case: Paul McDonagh, 30, with his baby son Kian, now two, who was murdered in Lancaster as he slept rough

Tragic case: Paul McDonagh, 30, with his baby son Kian, now two, who was murdered in Lancaster as he slept rough

A killer who stabbed a loving dad-of-one may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Bernard McSorley, 53, of no fixed address, will not be eligible to apply for parole until he has served a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Today, the family of his victim Paul McDonagh, 30, spoke of their heartache as they come to terms with the loss of their much-loved son.

Paul had been homeless in Lancaster for a matter of weeks when McSorley set upon him in an unprovoked attack with a Stanley knife on the steps by TK Maxx in Lancaster.

Paul did not fight back but held his attacker by the wrists to restrain him.

Mr McDonagh, described as “a gentle giant” by his family and friends, died from medical shock and bleeding four days later as he slept in an open garage.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court, Paul’s father, Peter McDonagh said: “Paul 
always saught peace, even when under duress.

“He was a strong, tall man, without a violent bone in his body.

“Even back when he was a child we would see other children feeling confident in his presence.

“He was aware of his physical strength and he simply abhorred violence and bullies.”

Paul’s family, who live in Ireland, did not know the dad-of-one was sleeping rough until the police knocked on the door to tell them he had died.

Following the breakdown of his relationship with his former partner Denise Dennis, he had been trying to find suitable accommodation so he could stay in the area close to his young son Kian, who is two today.

Denise said: “Kian was Paul’s life.

“Kian is a daddy’s boy but that is a constant reminder his daddy is no longer with us.”

McSorley showed no remorse throughout the trial and as he was led to the cells to start his life sentence.

Judge Stuart Baker, sentencing, said: “If you are ever released on parole you will be a very old man.”

Peter McDonagh said: “Paul would have just been glad he (Bernard McSorley) is off the streets and can’t harm anyone else. If he was back on the streets, that would be a terrible thing. it would mean Paul died in vain.”




Back to the top of the page