Attack: Man Sentenced for Killing Irishman in Violent and Sustained Assault in West London

Hayes, West London – A man in Hayes, West London, has been sentenced after a violent and sustained attack resulted in the death of James ‘JJ’ Donnelly, a 45-year-old man originally from Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Leo Pryce, 22, pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility in connection with Donnelly’s death, which occurred on July 15, 2023. Pryce was sentenced to a Hospital Order under section 37 of the Mental Health Act during a hearing at the Old Bailey on Thursday.

The attack on Donnelly, a former soldier who served with Ireland’s UN Peace Force, took place in his home on Station Road. Pryce, who had befriended Donnelly in the weeks prior, was suffering from undiagnosed schizophrenia at the time of the incident. Police were alerted to the situation by the London Ambulance Service, who discovered Donnelly’s body showing signs of a sustained assault with stab wounds.

Following forensic testing, a knife found at the crime scene was confirmed to be the murder weapon. Pryce was swiftly identified as the prime suspect after witnesses provided accounts to the police. Subsequently, Pryce was arrested the day after the attack. Donnelly was laid to rest in his hometown in Ireland on August 4, 2023.

In addition to the charges related to Donnelly’s death, Pryce also pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article on July 16, 2023, as well as two counts of assault on an emergency services worker during a hearing in January. DCI Matt Webb expressed gratitude to witnesses who came forward, allowing for a swift arrest of Pryce. Further restrictions under section 41 of the Mental Health Act were imposed on Pryce during his sentencing, emphasizing the significance of the community’s cooperation with law enforcement.

The heartbreaking loss of James Donnelly brought sorrow and shock to his family and community. Detective Chief Inspector Webb acknowledged the pain inflicted on Donnelly’s loved ones and hoped that Pryce’s conviction would offer some sense of closure. The tragic incident underscores the critical role of community involvement in assisting law enforcement efforts to ensure public safety and hold individuals accountable for their actions.