Dutch man jailed for life for Ballymun murder

Thursday 27 March 2014 22.16
Kamal El Habsati was found stabbed to death in Ballymun
Kamal El Habsati was found stabbed to death in Ballymun

A 42-year-old man has been jailed for life for murdering his flatmate in their Dublin apartment after a row over a €4 bill.

Jacky Lumi stabbed colleague and fellow Dutch national Kamal El Habsati 21 times before fleeing across Europe.

Their letting agent discovered the body of the Moroccan-born 31-year-old a few days later after their employer raised the alarm.

Lumi had pleaded not guilty to murdering his flatmate on 1 December 2012 at Linnbhla, Santry Cross in Ballymun.

He had asked for a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.

The Central Criminal Court trial heard that the two men had begun working and living together just a few months earlier, but relations had deteriorated.

A colleague testified that Lumi was not happy living with Mr El Habsati and had said he should have known better than to live with a Muslim because he had experiences with them before.

The court heard that Lumi had also complained that his flatmate was slow to pay bills, did not clean up and cooked in the middle of the night.

The trial heard that Lumi handed in his notice to his boss and letting agent in the week before the killing, telling the agent he would "end up killing" Mr El Habsati if he stayed.

He had a public argument with Mr El Habsati at work two days before the killing and rang in sick the next day.

On the day of the killing, he continued to obsess about Mr El Habsati not paying his internet bill of just over €4. 

He disconnected the internet in a bid to draw Mr El Habsati out of his bedroom into a discussion about it.

Mr El Habsati did leave his bedroom that evening and began cooking.

Lumi asked him about the bill and told him there was now also a €50 disconnection fee.

Lumi said Mr El Habsati turned around, pointed and smiled at him, saying that he was not going to pay and was actually going to move.

Lumi said he jumped up, threw Mr El Habsati to the ground, and that during the struggle he felt a sting on his hand and saw a knife in the victim's hand.

He said he used his martial arts training to get the knife off him and then stabbed him, with the intention of killing him.

Lumi then closed his victim's eyes and dragged his body into a bathroom, the knife still in his chest. He closed the door so he would not have to look at it and cleaned up the blood in the rest of the apartment.

He packed up his belongings, booked a flight to Amsterdam for the following morning and walked to a number of bank machines to empty his bank account.

He returned to the apartment, where he stayed in his room for the night because he was afraid of his victim's ghost.

Lumi then travelled to a number of cities throughout Europe, before running out of money and antidepressants in Rome.

He handed himself in to police there and returned to Ireland voluntarily.

Lumi told gardaí that he had suffered "burnout" some years earlier and had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

However, he was not permitted to use his illness as a defence in court.

He also expressed shock when told the number of stab wounds he had inflicted.

Lumi described the killing as a "massacre" and himself as a "psychopath" who was "100% guilty" and deserved "the death penalty".

During the trial though, he asked for a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation.

His legal team argued that he snapped when he saw the knife in the Mr El Habsati's hand and was not in control when he stabbed him.

However, after almost six hours of deliberation, the jury of seven men and five women found him guilty of murder by majority verdict of 11 to one.

Lumi nodded as Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy imposed the mandatory life sentence on him.