A mother has told the Central Criminal Court how part of her died when she was told her only son had been stabbed to death in Coolock in north Dublin in October 2002.

Miriam Higgins was speaking during the sentence hearing of three teenagers who killed her son, Alan Higgins, while stealing his mobile phone and a small sum of cash.

17-year-old Christopher Dunne, of Millwood Villas, Kilbarrack in Dublin, led the attack.

He is awaiting sentence next Monday having been convicted of murdering Alan.

18-year-olds Michael Maher, of Crumcastle Park, Kilmore West in Dublin and Anthony Whelan, of Millwood Villas, Kilbarrack, have pleaded guilty to manslaughter. They will also be sentenced on Monday.

Ms Higgins took the witness stand to outline how the murder of her only son causes her to suffer sleepless nights, nightmares and night terrors. She also spoke of how her son overcame leukaemia at a young age.

Alan had just said goodnight to his girlfriend when he was set upon, robbed and stabbed outside the UCI cinema, the court heard.