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Man tells murder trial of seeing his gut hanging out

A MAN has described seeing his gut hanging out of his body after a violent confrontation following his niece's Junior Cert celebrations two years ago.

John O'Neill was giving evidence in the trial of a 23-year-old Dublin man charged with injuring him, his sister, niece and nephew and murdering his brother-in-law.

David Brannock, of St Joseph's Way, Ballymun, is charged with murdering father-of-three Jason Flannery, causing serious harm to his brother-in-law Mr O'Neill and assault causing harm to Mr Flannery's daughter, Jade Byrne; son, Anthony Byrne; and their mother, Claire Byrne.

argument

He has pleaded not guilty to all five offences in the early hours of September 13, 2012 at St Joseph's Way, Poppintree, Ballymun.

Mr O'Neill testified yesterday that he was in the home of his sister, Claire Byrne, on the evening of September 12.

He told the Central Criminal Court that the family were celebrating the Junior Cert results of her daughter, Jade. Mr Brannock arrived after midnight, he said, was involved in an argument and was put out.

Mr O'Neill said the accused began throwing bottles at the house and shouted: "I'll be back and yous are all going to get it."

He said they knew he had returned about 20 minutes later when they heard things smashing off the porch.

Mr O'Neill said they opened the door and the accused was shouting: "Come on out."

He said Mr Flannery and Mr Byrne went out, and he followed a few seconds later.

By the time he caught up with them, he found his brother-in-law lying in a pool of blood.

"I seen a shadow and got a smack in the throat," he said.

He then saw the accused and fought with him.

"I heard a woman's voice shouting, 'He has a knife'," he said. "I threw him to the ground.

"When I was walking back, I could feel something. I pulled up my T-shirt and noticed that part of my gut was falling out - a golf ball size."

As well as the wound to his abdomen, for which he needed major surgery, he had a major laceration to his throat. He had seven stab wounds in total, he said.

Mr O'Neill said he spent 10 days in a coma, 25 days with a tube in his throat to help him breathe and almost a month in hospital.

His sister and the dead man's partner also gave evidence.

Claire Byrne said she had shouted at Mr Flannery and their son not to go after the accused.

"I let a roar, 'Yous are walking into a trap'. I didn't know what was after happening in that 20 minutes," she said.

flung

She said she eventually followed the men out and met her brother and son walking towards her. She said she kept walking and saw someone lying on the ground.

"I realised it was my partner," she said. "He [Brannock] was standing there.

"Just as I stood back, David was an arm's reach away from me and flung me on the ground."

The court has already heard that Mr Flannery died at the scene, and his children, Jade and Anthony Byrne, received stitches for wounds they received that morning.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of five women and seven men.

hnews@herald.ie


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