A man jailed for life for the murder of the drug-addicted daughter of top heart surgeon Maurice Neligan was only at liberty at the time of the crime because a judge suspended a two-year prison sentence for a previous knife attack that left a Slovakian-born barman fighting for his life. Brian McBarron, 26, pleaded guilty to stabbing his 31-year-old girlfriend Sara Neligan in June, 2007, at an apartment they shared in central Dublin. His only explanation to cops for the frenzied attack, in which Sara's throat was cut and she suffered several stab wounds, was that he intended taking his own life and he wanted to take her with him. But the Central Criminal Court heard he was aware that she had planned to leave him the next day to escape a relationship of several months during which her friends a number of times noticed bruising on her arms. Laborer McBarron was an alcoholic who was described by his own mother as "a monster" in drink. Just 18 months before he murdered Sara he was given a two-year suspended sentence for a vicious knife attack on Slovakian-born barman Martin Prokopec for refusing to give him a cigarette. McBarron also had previous convictions for drink driving, criminal damage and possession of a flick knife. In a victim impact statement, the Neligan family described Sara as "a beautiful, kind, caring and dignified young woman." In a statement read to the court, McBarron said he wished to apologize to the family and loved ones of Sara. He said she should not have died the way she did and he would live the rest of his life with the shame and embarrassment of what he had done. Sara had battled drug addiction for 10 years and had left the family home to sort out her life before she was killed. Her loving and close-knit family, devastated by her struggle, had continually rallied around her and attempted to give her every support over the years. She was the fourth of seven children of Maurice Neligan - at the time Ireland's best-known cardiac surgeon - and his wife Pat.