Man killed over theft claim 'had no phone on him when found'
A man who was killed after an allegation that he stole a phone did not have a mobile on him when he was found unconscious on a Tallaght footbridge.
A garda sergeant gave the evidence yesterday during the sentence hearing of five Dubliners who admit the manslaughter of Dale Creighton early on New Year's Day in 2014.
Two others are being sentenced for lesser offences arising out of the same incident.
The six men and one woman were originally charged with murder and went on trial at the Central Criminal Court in October after pleading not guilty.
However, those charges were dropped on the 15th day of the trial when they pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Mr Creighton (20) was assaulted at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic's Road and Greenhills Road four hours after he had seen in the new year.
The court heard that there had been an allegation that the Tallaght man had stolen a woman's mobile phone.
He died in hospital the next day. The cause of his death was blunt force injury to his head and face.
The seven accused, who are all from Tallaght, had all seen in the new year at a local night club.
They are Aisling Burke (23) and David Burke (28), of Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26), of Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23), of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26), of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23), of Coill Diarmuida, Ard a' Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27), of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.
Each of the accused initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge. However, Beresford later changed his plea to guilty. Aisling Burke, a mother of one, has now also changed her plea to guilty.
Palmer, Callery, Stevens, Beresford and David Burke have now pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Reid has pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, which had a blade or was sharply pointed.
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy spent yesterday watching CCTV footage of the attack on the footbridge and listening to the contents of gardai interviews.
Gda Sgt Brian Cagney testified that Mr Creighton was not known to gardai and that he had no mobile phone on him when he was found on the footbridge.
David Burke had previous convictions for theft, being drunk in charge of a vehicle, possession of drugs and intoxication in public.
Reid had convictions for possession of drugs for sale or supply and was on bail at the time of the offence.
Stevens had convictions for dangerous driving and driving without licence or insurance.
Tony McGillicuddy, handed in a letter on behalf of Beresford and read out one paragraph:
"To whom it may concern," he wrote. "I wish to apologise most sincerely to the Creighton family for my actions. To this day, I feel sick constantly for the harm I caused to their son."
He said his actions that morning were out of character and that he knew they had impacted on many lives.
"This does not reflect who I am as a person. I can't make excuses for what I have done. I can only repeat how sorry I am," he concluded.
The sentence hearing will continue tomorrow.
The judge has indicated that she will announce sentence next month.