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Family's lives 'ripped apart' after dad killed in one-punch assault

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Killer Jonathan Dargan. Photo: Collins Courts

Killer Jonathan Dargan. Photo: Collins Courts

Killer Jonathan Dargan. Photo: Collins Courts

The family of a man who died after a one-punch assault by a nightclub doorman have told a court their lives were "ripped apart" by the attack.

After a trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last November, Jonathan Dargan (49) was found guilty of killing Patrick Mullally (56) by knocking him to the ground with a single punch.

Mr Mullally and another man, Jason Cunningham, had approached Dargan on the Harold's Cross Road at around 4am on March 6, 2016, to intervene in a row he was having with his girlfriend.

The two men and others had been out celebrating Mr Mullally's retirement when they walked up to Dargan.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Dargan threw a number of powerful punches at the men.

Mr Mullally put his hands up to shield himself, but at least one punch connected with him, shattering his jaw and cheekbone and knocking him to the ground.

He suffered a subdural haemorrhage and brain trauma due to a blunt trauma to the face and head and died the next day.

The defendant, a Taekwondo instructor who worked as a doorman at Lillie's Bordello nightclub for two decades, admitted "lashing out" with a punch.

Vincent Heneghan, defending, told Judge Pauline Codd his client accepted the jury verdict, and he had indicated this to gardai in court on the day it was delivered.

Dargan, of Belfry Manor, Citywest, denied the unlawful killing of Mr Mullally.

He also denied assault causing harm to Mr Cunningham and to Mr Mullally's niece, Lauren Mullally, during the same incident.

Insanity

Judge Codd adjourned the case to tomorrow for sentencing after saying she needed time to read reports handed into court.

Dargan has no previous convictions, and the court heard his mother was killed by a neighbour a few years earlier.

The killer was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr Heneghan said his client was not a person who drank regularly, but on the night he was "very intoxicated".

Counsel said alcohol was not an excuse or a defence, but it was a factor in the events.

Reading from her own victim impact statement, Mr Mullaly's widow Joan Shields repeatedly broke down in tears as she described the effects of the "brutal" killing.

She said taking their young daughter to hospital to see her father one last time was the hardest thing she had had to do.

She described having to wait more than three years for the case to come to trial and, when it did, her daughter asked: "Why is there a trial? Did he not admit he hit Daddy?"

Mr Mullally's niece Courtney Mullally said of her uncle: "He was killed trying to do the chivalrous thing. One person ripped several lives apart with his bare hands."

Mr Heneghan handed in character references from family and employers for Dargan.

He said his client accepted responsibility for the death, but had not intended to kill him.

Last November, the jury took four hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict on the manslaughter charge.

It returned a majority verdict on the charge of assaulting Mr Cunningham.