'All his hopes were destroyed, our futures are ruined forever'
THE family of a young teacher punched to death in a late-night Christmas attack told yesterday how his hopes and dreams were destroyed in several brutal minutes.
Brian Casey (26), of Lissycasey, Co Clare, was killed in a senseless assault in Ennis, Co Clare, by Harry Dinan (31) and his nephew Kevin Dinan (24).
Harry Dinan, jailed for five years yesterday, was on temporary release and his nephew, jailed for four years, was on bail for burglary when they attacked and killed the teacher.
Yesterday, the Casey family said they would never get over the loss of their son and brother. They said that Brian's "discipline, sacrifice and courage was an inspiration to everyone who knew him".
At Ennis Circuit Court, Mr Casey's sister Martina said, on behalf of the family: "We have lost our beautiful son, inspiring brother, most loyal friend.
"We are different people now, there's a part of us missing that can never be replaced. A sense of unbearable sadness and devastation permeates every day.
"We are angry that something so devastating could happen without any reason and we simply cannot understand why.
"All of his hopes and dreams were destroyed in a matter of minutes, our futures ruined forever," she continued.
"No matter what we do as a family, there will always be one person missing, each occasion just heightens our sense of loss, any 'celebration' will always be tinged with sadness. I look at my parents and can see the unbearable heartache in their faces, the look of sadness that never leaves their eyes."
The court heard the attack that ended the life of the teacher happened on St Stephen's night in Ennis last year.
Harry Dinan of Waterpark Heights, Ennis, and Kevin Dinan of Clarehill, Clarecastle, both pleaded guilty to Mr Casey's manslaughter.
Harry Dinan -- who has 64 previous convictions -- was on temporary release from prison at the time of the unlawful killing, while Kevin Dinan -- who has 17 previous convictions -- was on bail and awaiting sentence, having pleaded guilty to a burglary charge.
The court heard that Mr Casey was looking on at a scuffle with his hands in his pockets and was caught off guard when hit by Harry Dinan with "a haymaker" at around midnight in O'Connell Square, Ennis.
The blow from Dinan broke Mr Casey's jaw in two places and the Lissycasey man hit the ground with the back of his head and never regained consciousness.
Mr Casey fractured his skull on impact and the court heard that Kevin Dinan then proceeded to hit Mr Casey with four of five punches while he lay prostrate on the ground.
The assault by the Dinans on Mr Casey was described as "a cowardly and unprovoked attack". Det Sgt Moloney said that a scuffle had broken out between the Dinans and friends of Brian Casey's. Mr Casey died two days later.
Judge Carroll Moran said that Mr Casey sustained a severe blow from Harry Dinan and the violence used by both Dinans was gratuitous. The multiple punches inflicted by Harry Dinan were a serious aggravating factor, the judge said.