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Friday 9 December 2016

'Thrown down steps like a rag doll', trial told

Gerard Stevens, James Reid and Graham Palmer (pictured) are among seven people accused of murdering Dale Creighton Picture: Collins Dublin
Gerard Stevens, James Reid and Graham Palmer (pictured) are among seven people accused of murdering Dale Creighton Picture: Collins Dublin
Gerard Stevens (27) of Grosvner Square, Rathmines, pictured arriving at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin this morning where he is accused of the murder of Dale Creighton in Tallaght on January 1, 2014. Pic Collins Courts.
Gerard Stevens, James Reid (pictured) and Graham Palmer are among seven people accused of murdering Dale Creighton Picture: Collins

A murder trial was shown footage of what the prosecutor described as a "vicious, prolonged and sustained attack" on a 20-year-old man on a Dublin footbridge.

This involved kicks and stamps to his head and body, after which the young man was thrown down steps "like a rag doll" the Central Criminal Court heard.

The court also heard from a witness who said she saw a young man being chased on to the bridge, where six or seven individuals surrounded, kicked and punched him.

The evidence was presented to the jury yesterday on the first day of the trial for the murder of Dale Creighton.

The woman and six men, who are in their 20s, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.

Dale Creighton died on January 2, 2014 - about two days after an incident at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic's Road and Greenhills Road.

Charged with his murder are Aisling Burke (23) and David Burke (28), both with an address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath.

Also charged with murder there are 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 Grosvener Square, Rathmines in Dublin.

Each accused also pleaded not guilty to violent disorder.

Senior Counsel Sean Gillane opened the case for the prosecution, saying that each of the accused was responsible for the attack on Mr Creighton, that they had acted together and that "the intention had to be to cause serious injury, if not death".

Mr Gillane said that the event began around 4am on New Year's Day, when a girl was heard shouting that her phone was "being robbed".

"Someone shouted: 'Grab him' and a young man was pursued by a number of people," said Mr Gillane, explaining that this young man was Mr Creighton.

He said CCTV cameras had captured part of the incident on the footbridge, where he said all were present.

"You'll be satisfied that Dale Creighton was the subject of a vicious, prolonged, sustained attack and absolutely satisfied that this involved kicks and stamps to the head and body," he said.

Defenceless

"You'll be satisfied that sustained attack, in its entirety, occurred while Mr Creighton was on the ground, not only not defending himself, but defenceless and, at one point, off the ground because he was being held up while the subject of blows and kicks," he continued.

"Then, like a rag doll, (he was) dragged to the steps and thrown down the steps, being remonstrated with and shouted at," he said, adding that Mr Creighton was then picked up and brought back to the bridge and put on the ground again.

"The violence visited upon him was ... intensive, concentrated and very focused," he suggested. He said that this violence did not end until the gardai arrived.

"The accused ran off, leaving Mr Creighton figuratively and literally for dead," he said.

He said Mr Creighton was rushed to hospital but was unresponsive and never recovered. His skull was fractured and nasal bones broken; his cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and face.

The jury was then shown CCTV footage taken between 3.48am and 4.10am. It was played without commentary.

The jury also heard from three locals, who had alerted gardai. One of these, Sile McCarthy, testified that she heard screaming and shouting at the bridge and saw a young man being punched at the bottom of the bridge.

"He ran up the steps," she said, recalling that a group of six or seven people then surrounded him.

"They were kicking and punching him into the head and body," she said. He collapsed on the bridge and wasn't moving.

She added that two of the men were holding on to railings while kicking him.

"The police arrived. Two of them jumped over the bridge," she recalled. "Some of them ran."

The trial continues before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy.

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