Father changes plea to admit killing
Published 27/07/2010 | 05:00
A FATHER of one has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a man who was attacked with a machete before being dragged along the road by a car.
Angelo O'Riordan (23), of Point Road, Bellurgan, Dundalk, had been on trial for three weeks for the murder of Aidan Myers at Faughart, outside Dundalk town, in December 2006.
He denied the charge, but yesterday, on day 19 of the trial, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter -- following his girlfriend's evidence to the court. The plea was accepted by the DPP.
Mr Myers's family and relatives broke down in tears as they left the courtroom. Their victim impact statements will be heard in November, when O'Riordan is sentenced.
It was the prosecution's case that O'Riordan was part of a common design and was involved with a number of other men in attacking Mr Myers and his friend after ramming into their car at Faughart shrine on December 12, 2006.
The prosecution said that when Mr Myers and his friend, Gearoid O'Donnell, got out of the car, they were attacked with machetes.
As the two men lay injured on the road, O'Riordan got into a Mitsubishi space-wagon he had earlier hijacked and rammed into Mr O'Donnell's Opel Astra which moved forward, dragging Mr Myers under its wheels.
The 37-year-old died in hospital a few hours later after suffering three heart attacks.
Pauline Walley, for the prosecution, described it as a "random attack of gratuitous and extreme violence".
In the absence of the jury, the court heard O'Riordan's partner Jennifer McBride was arrested on suspicion of withholding information on the death of Mr Myers in December 2007.
Ms Walley asked Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy to rule that Ms McBride was a hostile witness when she appeared on the stand last Friday, because of the discrepancies with what she had told the gardai.
Mr Justice McCarthy agreed, but before Ms Walley began her cross-examination of the witness yesterday, O'Riordan's defence lawyer, Mr Padraig Dwyer, told the jury his client had given him new instructions.
O'Riordan then stood and pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Myers. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting Gearoid O'Donnell.
O'Riordan was remanded in custody to be sentenced on November 8.