Man jailed for six years for one-punch killing
a Dublin man has received a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for the one punch manslaughter of another male in the city last year.
Alan Hatch (38) hit Liam Bennett in what he later described as a "perfect punch" after a brief verbal argument during a chance encounter along the canal near the Golden Bridge Industrial Estate.
Mr Bennett (46) suffered a massive brain injury from the impact with the ground and died a week later in Beaumont Hospital.
Garda Kevin Lawless revealed that CCTV footage of the incident showed Mr Bennett swing his elbow at Hatch while the two men were passing each other along the canal.
Hatch, of South Circular Road, Kilmainham, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of Mr Bennett at Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore on August 8, 2013.
He also pleaded guilty to robbing nurse Natalie Delaney of her handbag and contents on Thomas Street on January 6, 2013.
He has 29 previous convictions, including a four-year sentence for robbery in 2003.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said the court accepted Hatch did not set out to kill Mr Bennett but the attack was without cause and gratuitous and that nothing Mr Bennett said or did could justify the assault.
She suspended the last 12 months of a six-and-a-half year sentence. She backdated the sentence to August 3, 2013, the date Hatch went into custody for this offence.
In a victim impact report the Bennett family said: "Liam was a much-loved son, brother, uncle and friend.
"We live in hope that no other person will experience the heinous violence from the source Liam did."
Gda Lawless told Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, that witnesses described Mr Bennett talking to himself as he walked along Tyrconnell Road on August 1, 2013.
Hatch revealed he had been confused about how Mr Bennett was speaking to himself and had not expected him to "lash out" as they passed each other by.
CCTV footage shows the two men meeting and speaking to each other before the victim raises his elbow in the air towards Hatch. The footage does not show the elbow making any contact with Hatch.
Hatch said in interview that he had not intended to assault Mr Bennett, whom he recognised from drugs clinics. He said he punched Mr Bennett in response to him saying: "I'll mill you with this."
Gda Lawless revealed a toxicology report on the deceased, who suffered from Hepatitis C, showed he had alcohol, methadone, morphine and tablets in his blood.