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Man facing murder trial after 'blunt instrument' death of pal

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Accused Robert Broughan

Accused Robert Broughan

Accused Robert Broughan

A 25-year-old man has been charged with the murder of another man who was found fatally injured beside a canal in Co Kildare on Friday night.

Robert Broughan, from St Patrick's Park in Rathangan, appeared at Naas District Court yesterday.

He was charged with the murder of 34-year-old Roy Hopkins, who was found at Glenaree Bridge in Rathangan shortly after 9pm on Friday and taken to hospital before being declared dead.

Detective Garda Seamus Doyle from Newbridge Garda Station told judge Desmond Zaidan that Mr Broughan replied "are we going to Naas?" when the murder charge was put to him.

Judge Zaidan asked what this was in reference to, and Det-Gda Doyle said it was in relation to the court sitting.

Judge Zaidan then asked Det-Gda Doyle the circumstances of the case, and Det-Gda Doyle said it was alleged that Mr Broughan had assaulted Mr Hopkins with "a blunt instrument" he then identified as a baseball bat.

The court heard it would be alleged that both Mr Hopkins and Mr Broughan had gone to the canal together, and that they were friends, and not enemies.

Mr Broughan stood smiling during the hearing, and at one point corrected Det-Gda Doyle on Mr Hopkins's name.

"His name's Roy," he said.

Mr Broughan only spoke one other time during the hearing - answering "landscaper" when asked if he was working.

Solicitor for Mr Broughan, Conal Boyce, applied for a psychological assessment of his client while in custody and that he receive any treatment required. This was granted by Judge Zaidan.

Mr Broughan was remanded in custody to Cloverhill prison to appear in court again by video link next Thursday.

Mr Broughan sat quietly in the court before his case was called, and stood for its short duration.

Judge Zaidan said regardless of the outcome of the case he wished to express his condolences to the family of Mr Hopkins.

Smear

Mr Hopkins's death is not the first loss his grieving family have suffered, it has emerged.

His sister Debbie died from cervical cancer in 2014.

Debbie was 27 when she died, and her heartbroken mother Caitriona then vowed to campaign to lower the age at which doctors provide smear tests.

Caitriona and her sons were today being supported by neighbours and friends in the tight-knit community in Rathangan as they came to terms with their latest loss.

mr Hopkins lived in the Beechgrove area of the town. His family are originally from the Ard Mhuire area.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Anne Connolly said the news of mr Hopkins's death was "shocking and sad for his family and the whole community".

"Our hearts go out to the family, especially after they have already suffered the loss of Debbie and their father as well," said Cllr Connolly.

"For Caitriona to lose two children and her husband is a terrible blow, and the community will be there to support them," she added.

"Rathangan is a shocked community today, and we are all saddened for the family," she explained.

Gardai are appealing for anyone with information on the incident to come forward.

Detectives are particularly keen to speak to anyone who was in the vicinity of Glenaree Bridge on Friday night.

They are asked to contact Naas Garda Station on 045 884 300 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.