Wednesday 18 October 2017

Sentences 'too lenient' for men who beat Dale to death, says family

Helena Darcy pictured with family and friends briefing the media on the steps of the Criminal Courts of Justice following the sentencing hearing regarding the investigation into the death of Dale Creighton. Photo: Collins Courts
Helena Darcy pictured with family and friends briefing the media on the steps of the Criminal Courts of Justice following the sentencing hearing regarding the investigation into the death of Dale Creighton. Photo: Collins Courts

Andrew Phelan

Sentences handed down over the death of Dale Creighton in a violent New Year's Day attack were "too lenient", the victim's family has said.

In a statement after five men were jailed, the family described Mr Creighton (20) as having been "the centre of their world".

A family member was speaking after the sentencing hearing for six men and a woman who admitted charges in connection with the death of Mr Creighton after a "prolonged and vicious attack" on a footbridge in Tallaght.

Dale's father Darren Creighton watched the CCTV footage of the fatal attack in court and found it very distressing.

"Before I had seen the footage I didn't think it was as bad as what it was," he said.

"I knew they beat him. I saw him black and blue. It was that bad I couldn't even touch him in the coffin or anything. It was horrendous.

Dale Creighton
Dale Creighton

"I'll never get to go to a football match with him. I'll never get to have a pint with him.

"I'll never get to see him growing up and having kids … his family ... never get to see what he really would have been creating ... They took all that from me," he said in an interview on RTÉ's 'Claire Byrne Live' last night.

Five of the men were given jail terms ranging from three to seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court. A woman will be sentenced to a year in prison for violent disorder after a judge said her screaming and shouting "incited" the men involved in the frenzied attack.

Read more: 'I’ll never get to see him growing up and having kids' - Father of Dale Creighton

Imposition of her sentence was adjourned for a week.

A seventh accused, who also did not physically assault the victim but had a knife at the scene, had his two-year sentence suspended in full.

As the sentences were given, gasps and cries of "Jesus Christ", and "Shame" were heard from the public gallery where Mr Creighton's family sat.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said while the accused were "not evil", none of the seven had "shouted stop".

Mr Creighton died following an assault at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass in the early hours of New Year's Day, 2014.

He had been accused of stealing a phone belonging to one of the seven, Aisling Burke, before he was confronted and beaten.

The court heard his injuries were so severe his own family did not recognise him.

The five who pleaded guilty to manslaughter were given 10-year sentences, with portions suspended. Graham Palmer (26) was jailed for five years, Ross Callery (23) and Jason Beresford (23) for six each, David Burke (28) for seven-and-a-half years, and Gerard Stevens (27) was jailed for three.

Aisling Burke (23) is to be jailed for one year for violent disorder. James Reid (26) had a two-year sentence for possession of a knife suspended in full after the judge said she was satisfied he did not participate in the assault. The seven accused had originally been charged with murder and all had pleaded not guilty, but those charges were later dropped and they admitted the lesser charges.

"Dale was then and still is the centre of our world," family spokesperson Helena D'arcy said after the hearing.

Irish Independent

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