A court in South Africa has sentenced a 27-year-old man to 18 years in prison for the killing of Dublin man John Curran in 2018.

Mr Curran, 63, had been working in South Africa with the Mellon Educate charity when he was killed.

He was taking a break from work in Cape Town and was due to return to Ireland in December 2018.

He died on 6 November and his body was found at his apartment the following day.

In 2019, defence barrister Anthony Berinato said Congolese national Mitspa Onyoka had acted in self-defence after he went back to Mr Curran's house for a drink.

He claimed that Mr Curran had attempted to sexually assault him.

Prosecutor John Swart rejected the accused's claim of self-defence saying: "Being stabbed 26 times does not suggest self-defence."

Mr Curran's daughter, Triona, told RTÉ News that the sentencing delivers accountability.

She said her father was "such a gentle and peace loving man, he was the last person anyone could ever imagine being a victim of such horrific violence. The way my Dad died has tormented and haunted us every single day since.

"Dad was so full of life and was buzzing with plans for the next chapter of it. His precious grandchildren have been robbed of their beloved Papa John, deprived of the years of fun, laughter and adventure that were just beginning.

"Nothing can ever fill the gap that has been left in our lives."

Mr Curran’s family said that this may be the end of the legal chapter, but that they are left to continue a lifelong sentence without their "precious man".

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Through an interpreter in court, Mitspa Onyoka apologised for what he did and asked for forgiveness.

"It took me one year to forgive myself," he said.

This evening, John Curran's family said that while they welcome the admission of guilt, are "disappointed at the repetition of false allegations" about their father "that have been previously rejected by the court".

Mr Curran, was a former school teacher and principal in Dublin before he became director of Mellon Educate.

He was well known in Irish teaching circles and was the principal of the Good Shepherd National School in Dublin's Churchtown for 14 years.

The CEO of Mellon Educate paid tribute to Mr Curran.

"John loved teaching," Niall Mellon said.

"In the twilight of his career, he wanted to come out to Africa for a year, 18 months or two years, teaching some very impoverished children who so needed his help, wisdom and excellence.

"He still remains sorely missed and much loved by the staff, friends, teachers and children at Mellon Educate."

The president of the Irish Primary Principals' Network also paid tribute to Mr Curran, who was one of the founding members of the organisation.

Damian White told RTÉ News that Mr Curran brought about great improvements everywhere he went and described him as someone who "always had an eye for the bigger picture for things that were coming down the track in education".

"In South Africa for instance … he worked on providing school places for 2,700 children. That kind of contribution alone in that couple of years where he worked with Mellon Educate just sets him apart in my view," Mr White said.