herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

Man 'punched to death in row over sex assault'

Cathal Sweeney
Cathal Sweeney

A Dubliner has admitted killing a 62-year-old man at a flat where they were watching an Ireland-England rugby match.

Gary Walsh (34), of The Watercourse, Orwell Park, Templeogue, is accused of murdering Cathal Sweeney in Ashdale Gardens, Terenure, on February 8, 2014.

He was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. This was not acceptable to the State and a jury was sworn in to hear the trial.

Patrick McCarthy, prosecuting, said there were three people in the flat at the time of the incident - the accused, the deceased and another man.

Row

He said the accused knew that the deceased had been accused of a sexual assault against another person.

The allegation had been subsequently withdrawn, he added.

"The accused brought it up with Mr Sweeney, who denied it, and a row started," said Mr McCarthy in his opening speech.

"Mr Walsh appears to have attacked Mr Sweeney because he would not admit to the sexual assault.

"The accused hit him, according to his own statement, six or seven times, possibly more."

The barrister said paramedics were called at about 5.30pm and they found Mr Sweeney with facial trauma.

He was unresponsive to CPR and had no pulse. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital and the cause of death was given as blunt force trauma to the head and face.

Mr McCarthy said the third man indicated to gardai that Mr Walsh had "just kept punching and couldn't stop" and that "it was all about rape and money".

Mr McCarthy explained that this other man might have thought he was entitled to some money from an inheritance that Mr Sweeney had received.

Mr McCarthy told the jury it would have to deal with drunkenness, that all present had a problem with drink, and that a large amount had been taken.

"Drunken intention is an intention," he said. "You must come to a conclusion on whether an intention to commit serious injury in this case by Mr Walsh caused the death of Mr Sweeney."

The barrister said the primary objective of the assault was to get Mr Sweeney to admit he had committed a sexual assault.

"The evidence seems to be that he beat him until he was excessively bleeding and he was rendered unconscious," he said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and a jury of six women and six men.

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