herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

'I punched him six or 7 times', murder accused told gardai

Cathal Sweeney died from blunt force trauma to the head
Cathal Sweeney died from blunt force trauma to the head

A Dublin man charged with murdering a 62-year-old former rugby captain told gardai he punched the deceased until he admitted sexually assaulting another man, his trial has heard.

The father-of one said they had been getting on well until then, watching a rugby match in a friend's flat in Dublin.

The evidence was heard yesterday in the Central Criminal Court trial of 34-year-old Gary Walsh, who is charged with murdering Cathal Sweeney in Ashdale Gardens, Terenure.

Mr Walsh, of The Watercourse, Orwell Park in Templeogue, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on February 8, 2014.Mr Sweeney died of blunt force trauma to the head and face.

Sergeant Joseph Molloy gave evidence of a number of interviews with Mr Walsh.

The court had already heard that both accused and deceased had been watching an Ireland-Wales rugby match in the flat of a friend, Colm Campbell.

Mr Walsh told gardai that all three were drinking and that an argument started between he and Mr Sweeney.

Slumped

"I struck him a few times," said Mr Walsh. "He had blood on his face. I told him to go into the bathroom and clean himself."

He said he followed him in and found him slumped over.

"I called the ambulance," he said. "I had no intention for this to happen."

The gardai asked him about his reason for assaulting him. He said that Mr Campbell had told him that Mr Sweeney had sexually assaulted a man, but that the deceased had denied it.

"He kept denying it and it just kicked off," he said. "Cathal said he didn't do it so I hit him a few times."

He was asked how many times. "A good six or seven times in the face," he replied.

"You punched him until he said he did it?" he was asked.

"Yeah, until he said he did it. We were getting on well until then," he said. "It wasn't even that long. I did everything I could to make him alright. He walked from the couch."

Mr Campbell had told gardai that he heard Mr Walsh demand €20,000 from Mr Sweeney, who had recently received an inheritance.

"Money had nothing to do with it," he said when this was put to him. "I wasn't looking for money."

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty told the jury that the evidence in the case has finished. The jury will hear closing statements when the trial resumes on Tuesday.

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