Family 'haunted' by victim's death in rubbish chute
THE family of a homeless man who met an agonising death trapped in an apartment rubbish chute warned that no human being should have to spend their last moments of life in such a nightmare.
David O'Loughlin (28) was handed a mandatory life sentence for the murder of Cork Simon resident Liam Manley (58) two years ago.
O'Loughlin invited the homeless man back to his flat for a drink on May 12, 2013 but then punched him and shoved him into a narrow metal rubbish chute on the fourth floor of his Cork city centre apartment complex.
Mr Manley, who was described as small and frail, died from mechanical asphyxia trapped in the narrow metal chute with bags of rubbish just in front of his face.
His body was only found when a maintenance man went to free the blocked chute.
O'Loughlin was convicted by a unanimous verdict of a Central Criminal Court jury after a three-week trial in Cork.
The conviction came just minutes after the jury had asked to inspect the rubbish chute in the Garden City-North Gate apartment complex.
O'Loughlin, who denied the charge, remained emotionless as the guilty verdict was returned - but angrily shouted at a garda witness during the sentencing hearing.
In a harrowing victim impact statement, Mr Manley's sister, Kay Murphy, said the family are still haunted by the terrible manner of his death.
"We as a family cannot find words to describe how we felt when his life was so tragically taken," she said.
"To die in such horrific and frightening circumstances should be something no-one should have to endure.
"We feel hurt and sad. He didn't deserve to be put in a rubbish chute, four flights up. We wake up at night thinking about his last thoughts. He was waiting to die so alone and isolated from the world because of the act of one person.
"We will have to live with this nightmare for the rest of our lives. To try to imagine his final act of living was spent with the rubbish is a tragedy. This will haunt us forever."
Ms Murphy said that O'Loughlin has shown no remorse for the vicious crime, only a "callous disregard for his life and dignity".
O'Loughlin admitted putting Mr Manley in the rubbish chute but said he only intended him to slide down to the ground floor and go about his business.
However, the trial heard that O'Loughlin re-entered his Cork flat and boasted to an acquaintance: "The man is down the drain."
In evidence, O'Loughin said he was later horrified to learn the man had died.
"I did not want him to die in that chute. I was horrified when I learned he had died in this chute. I could not believe my actions had led to the death of this man," he added.
O'Loughlin, who is originally from Clare, has an address at Apartment 10, Garden City Apartments, North Gate House, Cork.
Mr Justice Paul Carney was told that O'Loughlin had "a traumatic" childhood having been brought up in care and foster homes. He has a total of 49 previous convictions including for assault causing serious harm.
In garda interviews, O'Loughlin said he was "hammered" that weekend from taking drink and drugs.