Tuesday 6 December 2016

Murder charges are dropped as five plead guilty to manslaughter

Natasha Reid

Published 02/11/2016 | 02:30

Graham Palmer, who was re-arraigned after pleading guilty to manslaughter Picture: Collins
Graham Palmer, who was re-arraigned after pleading guilty to manslaughter Picture: Collins
Victim Dale Creighton

Murder charges against seven people have been dropped, after five of them pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Dale Creighton and two co-accused pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

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Six men and one woman had been on trial at the Central Criminal Court, charged with murdering the 20-year-old at a footbridge in Tallaght, Dublin, almost three years ago.

All seven were re-arraigned yesterday morning. The five men had their manslaughter pleas accepted by the State and their two co-accused had their pleas to lesser charges accepted. The jury was discharged.

Dale Creighton was assaulted on New Year's morning 2014 at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic's Road and Greenhills Road. The court heard there was an allegation he had stolen a phone.

The Tallaght man died in hospital the following day. The seven accused, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, had all pleaded not guilty to murder.

They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26) with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) currently of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a' Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.

Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder. Jason Beresford later changed his plea and pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

The prosecution had been due to call its final witnesses yesterday but, when the jury returned to court after the weekend, the prosecutor asked for each accused to be re-arraigned.

Aisling Burke pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

Graham Palmer, Ross Callery, David Burke, Gerard Stevens and James Beresford pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to manslaughter.

James Reid was charged with having a knife, which had a blade or which was sharply pointed, at the footbridge. He pleaded guilty to its possession.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy then addressed the jury.

"Each has been re-arraigned," she said. "Five of the accused have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and that plea has been accepted."

The judge granted Aisling Burke bail until sentencing, and she remanded Stevens and Callery on bail until next Monday. She remanded the others in custody and directed probation reports for Palmer, Callery, Stevens, Beresford, Aisling Burke and David Burke.

"Even at this late stage, the court is pleased that these young people have all acknowledged their involvement," she said, offering her condolences to Mr Creighton's family.

They will be sentenced in December.

Irish Independent

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