herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Son told me 'I'm going to kill you' - De Rossa

PROINSIAS De Rossa believed he was going to be killed by his son in a vicious attack, a court has heard.

A jury is being asked to decide if the son of the Labour politician, who resigned as an MEP in January, was insane when he allegedly assaulted his father in their home.

The politician had just returned home from the inauguration of President Michael D Higgins when Fearghal De Rossa (46) started his seemingly unprovoked attack, the court heard. Mr De Rossa was in hospital for six days and required surgery to his forearm.

Fearghal De Rossa, of Old Finglas Road, Glasnevin, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the now 72-year-old man at their home on November 11, 2011.

Paranoia

The court heard Fearghal suffers from paranoia and has spent time in the Central Mental Hospital. Tara Burns , prosecuting, told the jurors they will have to decide under the Criminal Law Insanity Act 2010 whether the accused was insane at the time of the alleged attack.

Mr De Rossa Senior was in court but his evidence was read out by Ms Burns. He said he had just come back from the inauguration and went into his office to use the computer.

He said Fearghal came in and unplugged the computer before taking it into his room. When his father went to retrieve it Fearghal grabbed the hard drive and threw it over the bannister, smashing it.

He said his son then calmly told him, "I'm going to kill you" before starting to punch him the face.

"Don't do this Fearghal, I'm your dad," Mr De Rossa said.

"I've never done anything to you."

Assault

The assault continued and Mr De Rossa said at this point his son showed "real anger" for the first time. He said Fearghal kept punching him deliberately and "almost calmly".

Mr De Rossa said he ran outside but his son caught him and the attack resumed.

"I believed I was going be killed by my son and that that he would spend the rest of his days in prison and I thought how terrible that would be," he said in his statement.

He said he remembered a passer-by intervening but that his son then returned with a shovel and continued attacking him. Mr De Rossa said this wasn't painful because "I believe my body was in shock".

An ambulance was passing by at the time. Paramedic David English made a statement that he and others restrained Fearghal before he treated the victim whose face was swollen and bleeding.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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