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Monday 25 September 2017

'God, I think he's dead' - trial told of murder accused's words after attack

Assault victim Cathal Sweeney
Assault victim Cathal Sweeney

A witness has told a murder trial that he went for hypnosis to try to remember how a fatal assault on a rugby captain began in his home while they were watching a match.

However, Colm Campbell says he is still unable to recall what "kicked off" an attack by Gary Walsh (34) on their 62-year-old pal Cathal Sweeney.

Father-of-one Mr Walsh, of The Watercourse, Orwell Park, Templeogue, Dublin denies murdering Mr Sweeney on February 8, 2014.

However, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a flat in Ashdale Gardens, Terenure, Dublin during his trial at the Central Criminal Court which started on Monday.

Mr Campbell told the court that he was an alcoholic and that Mr Walsh and Mr Sweeney had problems with alcohol too.

He said both men were at the Terenure flat that afternoon to have a few drinks and watch Ireland play Wales in rugby.

Thumps

"The next thing I remember was noise coming from the bedroom," he said. "There was an argument ensuing between Mr Walsh and Mr Sweeney. I heard what I believed were slaps or thumps and shouting."

He said he did not do or say anything at that point. "Gary came out of the room, sat down, probably had another drink, smoke and then went back into the bedroom. I heard that noise starting off again."

Mr Campbell said he was concerned and went into the room.

"I saw Cathal Sweeney sitting on the bed with his hands covering his face. I noticed there was blood coming down his face and through his fingers. There was a fair amount of blood."

He said he tried to intervene but was not that strong and was unsteady on his legs.

"I shouted for Mr Walsh to stop, which he did. I got him back into the sitting room."

Asked if anything was being said in the bedroom, Mr Campbell said: "I believe I heard Gary demanding money from Mr Sweeney." He said he witnessed Mr Walsh punching Mr Sweeney in the head.

Blood

"I also saw, what I believe, he was using his elbows, coming down on the torso. I then saw Mr Walsh taking Cathal Sweeney by the ankles and pulling him off the bed. He kicked him in the head."

He said Mr Sweeney was badly injured and that Mr Walsh was calling him names.

He said he coaxed Mr Walsh back into the living room but they later became concerned when they heard no sound coming from the bedroom.

"We entered into the bedroom and Cathal was lying motionless." He said Mr Sweeney's face was swollen and cut.

"I think I recall Gary saying to me, 'God, I think he's dead'."

He said Mr Walsh then called the emergency services.

Mr Campbell could not explain why blood was found on the living room couch saying he could have fallen asleep or have been in a blackout.

"I tried to get hypnosis and everything like that to see if I could get any recollection of what happened, what kicked it off, what started it, because I don't remember," he said.

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