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Thursday 14 December 2017

Sickening attack like movie scene, murder trial told

Devoted dad: Martin Brophy, girlfriend Mary Smith and baby son David before his death
Devoted dad: Martin Brophy, girlfriend Mary Smith and baby son David before his death

A witness has told a murder trial that the accused stamped on his alleged victim's head, saying: "This is out of American History X."

Gavin Walsh (21) was giving evidence in the trial of a 20-year-old man charged with murdering a 22-year-old in Waterford almost three years ago.

The trial has heard that young dad Martin Brophy died of blunt force trauma to the head, which could have been due to "kicking, stamping or stomping".

William Moran, of Connolly Place, Waterford, is charged with murdering Mr Brophy at the old Waterford Institute of Technology between May 19 and 21, 2012. He has pleaded not guilty and is on trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

threatened

Mr Walsh testified that he and Mr Moran went to what he described as "the warehouse" with two females on May 19.

"There was a metal step that your man [Mr Brophy] was sleeping on," he said. "William was calling him Skip. William started banging his foot off the metal yoke. He woke up in a bit of a fright, kind of jumped up and told William to go away."

Mr Walsh said one of the females "calmed the two boys down" and they all sat down and drank cider for at least an hour. The girls eventually went home.

He said Mr Brophy later said Mr Moran's cousin, Ray Connolly, had threatened his [Mr Brophy's] sister with a knife. He said Mr Moran denied this, but Mr Brophy told him to get his cousin on the phone and tell him to "come down here".

He said Mr Moran did ring his cousin and put him on loudspeaker.

"Skip shouted into the phone that he'd slice Ray's throat if he came down," he said.

Mr Walsh said the conversation between the accused and his cousin continued after he took him off loudspeaker and Mr Moran then told him what had been said.

"He said if me and William give Skip a beating, will you sort us out with a few Es, drugs," he testified. "I said, 'No, he's too drunk'. William said, 'I'll do it myself'."

Mr Walsh said the accused went behind Mr Brophy and dragged him.

"He started kicking him in the head and digging him," he said, explaining that this had happened six or seven times.

He was asked if Mr Brophy had reacted.

"No, he was too drunk," he replied.

Mr Walsh said he told Mr Moran to stop and tried to grab him by the shoulder, but he was pushed away.

"He dragged him up to the metal thing and put his teeth on it," he continued.

"He said, 'This is out of American History X' [a 1998 violent crime movie] and then stamped on his head. I said, 'You're going to kill your man' and started crying."

The witness said he pushed Mr Moran, who fell over beside a brick.

"William got back up and lifted up the brick. He said, 'I'm a mad b****rd' and hit Skip's head with it. Blood spattered up. I started bawling crying ."

Mr Walsh said that while he was running away, he again saw the accused dropping the brick on Mr Brophy's head.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of four women and eight men.

hnews@herald.ie

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