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Saturday 10 December 2016

Murder victim 'already black and blue when I got there', says accused

Defendant Graham Palmer. Photo: Collins Courts
Defendant Graham Palmer. Photo: Collins Courts

One of seven Dubliners charged with murdering a man who was beaten to death said the deceased was already 'black and blue and bleeding from his eyes' before he punched him.

The jury in the Central Criminal Court trial was yesterday hearing evidence of garda interviews conducted with one of the accused, Graham Palmer, who initially denied assaulting the 20-year-old.

Dale Creighton was assaulted on New Year's Morning 2014 on the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic's Road and Greenhills Road. The Tallaght native died in hospital the following day.

A woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder and went on trial last week.

They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with an address of Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Mr 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), currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines, Dublin.

Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder. However, Mr Beresford later changed his plea to guilty to the violent disorder charge.

Garda Alan Young testified yesterday that he interviewed Mr Palmer a number of times that New Year's Day.

"I didn't put a finger on that fella," said Mr Palmer initially.

He said he was walking home in the early hours when he heard screaming and shouting, referring to Ms Burke as 'hysterical'.

Fatal

"That young fella was in a ball," he said. "His face was black and blue and he had blood p*****g from his eyes."

He said he was told that someone had robbed Ms Burke of her bag and phone and that someone was asking the deceased where the phone was.

He said that someone had given the deceased "a boot or a punch" while Mr Palmer was picking him up off the ground.

"I didn't put him in that state," he said, when it was suggested he hadn't helped him.

"I did not do that to that young fella. I didn't kick him… I picked him up but I didn't put him in a ball like that."

He was later shown CCTV footage of the fatal assault.

He identified himself and was asked what was happening.

"There were people trying to kick and punch him. I tried to prevent it," he said.

"But you hit him yourself," it was put to him. "I did. I hit him in the stomach," he said.

"I slapped him in the stomach just to get his attention."

"You again speak to him as he's lying lifeless. What did you say?" he was asked, but Mr Palmer said he didn't know.

He agreed he had hit him again as he lay upside down and that he appeared to get something on his hand. He was asked if this was blood. "I got blood on my face when someone kicked him," he said.

It was put to him he had left him to die when gardai arrived. "He was alive when I left," he said. "Everybody ran, so I did."

He was asked how he felt, having seen the footage. "Not good, ashamed," he said.

He said he "slapped him twice" when asked about his involvement. He then agreed he also punched him in the face.

The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and the jury of six men and six women.

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