A HOMELESS man who fatally assaulted another resident in a homeless shelter in a row over snoring has received a seven year prison sentence.
Edward Dwyer (51) of Sun Dial House, James Street, Dublin 8 pleaded guilty to recklessly assaulting Francis McGrinder (41) causing him serious harm at the Crosscare Hostel, Longford Lane on May 8, 2008.
The victim, who was also homeless, died four days after Dwyer repeatedly smashed his head against a heavy duty metal gate. Dwyer has a previous conviction for manslaughter dating back to 1982.
The family of Mr McGrinder told Dublin Circuit Criminal court they had always held out hope he would come back home some day and that they wished they could have said goodbye to him.
In her victim impact statement the victim's mother Ann McGrinder said that she will regret for the rest of her life that she never got to say goodbye to him.
Judge Desmond Hogan imposed a sentence of seven years but suspended the last two because of Dwyer’s poor health. As Dwyer was led from court he shouted “fuck you” to the victim's family.
Detective Garda Kenneth Donnelly told Shane Costelloe BL, prosecuting, that the two men were living in sheltered accommodation run by the Crosscare charity in the city centre.
He said that Dwyer and the victim, who was also known as “Stumpy”, had a verbal altercation at some point in the evening which was broken up by staff. The court heard that both men suffered alcohol dependency problems and were drunk on the night.
He said that later on that evening the two men were standing outside and Dwyer grabbed the victim by the back of the neck and smashed his head against a heavy duty metal gate up to five times.
Gerard Curran, a member of the Carmelite Fathers who witnessed the attack, said he could hear a loud bang each time the victim's head struck the gate and saw the 8ft high gate shaking each time.
Mr McGrinder fell to the ground. He was taken to hospital and died four days later.
A report from the State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy said that the main cause of death was subdural haemorrhage due to head trauma. She noted he had a past medical condition and that it could not be excluded that he had also suffered a seizure.
Dwyer's 45 previous convictions include theft, larceny and burglary. He received a three year sentence for manslaughter on July 5, 1982. Dwyer was originally charged with manslaughter in this case and later pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm.
The victim's brother, Terence McGrinder told the court that there was always a hope that Mr McGrinder would come back home. He added: “He was 41 and too young to die.”
Tony McGillicuddy BL, defending, said that his client believed the deceased had made a comment about Dwyer snoring at night and that a row escalated from that.
Dwyer told gardai that they ended up roaring at each other over snoring and he claimed that they began punching each other. The court heard that there was no evidence of this caught on CCTV cameras.
Judge Hogan directed that Dwyer receive the appropriate medical treatment, including any psychiatric treatment, while in custody