Boy (11) stabbed & murdered by his uncle in Limerick

Boy (11) stabbed & murdered by his uncle in Limerick
Source: RTE

An inquest has found that Brooklyn Colbert's death in Limerick four years ago was a result of “unlawful killing”.

At the inquest on Wednesday, it was revealed that an 11-year-old boy who was murdered in Limerick four years ago had died from blood loss caused by being beaten with a hammer and stabbed more than 20 times by his uncle.

Limerick Coroner's Court jury found that the death of 11-year-old Brooklyn Colbert was a result of an “unlawful killing”.

Paddy Dillon, the boy’s uncle, who was 26 at the time of the incident, struck his nephew across the head with a hammer and stabbed him 27 times in a furious attack at Dillon’s aunt’s home at Ballynanty Beg, Limerick, on November 3rd, 2019.

A postmortem by Dr Margaret Bolster revealed that Brooklyn had tried to defend himself during the attack, but his death was ultimate "very rapid".

Evidence suggests that Brooklyn had suffered a severe head injury due to blunt force trauma, which was consistent with a blow from a hammer, resulting in a depressed fracture of his skull.

He suffered from "sharp force trauma" inflicted by "twenty-seven stab wounds". A 13cm, single-edged knife was used to inflict substantial force.

Dr Bolster determined that the cause of death was due to haemorrhage, bleeding and shock caused by multiple stab wounds.

Dillon immediately confessed his crime at the nearest Garda station.

In 2021, Dillon admitted his guilt before the Central Criminal Court and was consequently sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime of murder.

Coroner John McNamara and Garda Inspector Gary Thompson of Bruff Garda Station offered their sympathies and condolences to the family of the boy, including his mother Sonia Aylmer, who attended the inquest hearing at Kilmallock Courthouse, Co. Limerick.

Mr McNamara said that Dr Bolster's autopsy report was "not for the faint-hearted" and suggested to the family that only a "summary" of the full 20-page report be heard due to the "harrowing" evidence.

Ms Aylmer informed the coroner she would remain in court to hear a summarised version of the report.

In her deposition, Ms Aylmer said that looking back prior to the murder, she believed that Dillon, her stepbrother, had developed an "obsession" with her only son.

She recalled that Dillon referred to Brooklyn as “my king” and he was always seen embracing him.

"I think he wanted to kill Brooklyn and then himself so that they could both be together in Heaven," Ms Aylmer wrote.

DI James Ruddle from Roxboro Road Garda station was the first one to arrive at No 11 Shanabooley Road, Ballynanty Beg. Upon reaching the front door, he noticed blood on its glass panelling.

Gardaí forced open the front door, and Detective Inspector Ruddle found Brooklyn's lifeless body "on the kitchen floor, which was covered in blood."

“Brooklyn Colbert lay on his stomach, his eyes closed, not breathing, no sign of life.”

Detective Inspector Ruddle reported that he also observed "a hammer with blood on the handle lying close to [Brooklyn's] head."

Brooklyn's father, Wayne Colbert, wrote in his deposition, which was read out on his behalf by Gardaí, that he "identified the body of my lovely boy" at the morgue at University Hospital Limerick later that night.

After the inquest, Brooklyn's mother, Sonia Aylmer, said it had been "a very hard day," but it had helped bring her some "closure."

She thanked people "for keeping Brooklyn's memory alive" and said Brooklyn, her only child, was "a special boy" who left "a legacy" of kindness in his short life. "He will live on forever; his legacy will live on; I will make sure of that."