Teen boy admits stabbing Lorcan O'Reilly to death following Halloween bonfire
A teenager fatally stabbed 21-year-old Lorcan O’Reilly at a Halloween bonfire after yelling at him: ‘You don’t know who my dad is,’ a court was told on Monday.
The 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified due to his age, had originally been charged with Mr O’Reilly’s murder and a trial date had been set.
But at an arraignment hearing at the Central Criminal Court today, the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to Mr O’Reilly’s manslaughter at the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin during the early hours of November 1, 2015.
His plea was accepted by the prosecution.
The accused was 14 years of age at the time killing.
During today’s hearing, the court was told that the deceased and the defendant had both attended an organised Halloween bonfire next to the flats in Dublin’s south inner-city.
The event began on the evening of October 31, 2015, and Detective Inspector Paul Cleary agreed with prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC that a large crowd of youths later congregated inside an open area of the flats during the early hours of November 1 as the Halloween party continued.
Describing the events leading up to the fatal attack, Mr Grehan said the accused and deceased had been involved in a slagging match at around 2.40 am and that at 2.42am the accused was caught on CCTV in possession of a hurley.
One witness, whose unnamed statement was read out in court by Mr Grehan, told gardai that “there was a lot of slagging off going on. He (the accused) was saying who he was and who his dad was.”
Another witness, who was also not identified in court, told investigating officers that Mr O’Reilly had been trying to stop a fight between the accused and another boy but the accused “wanted the fight to go on”.
Det Insp Cleary agreed with Mr Grehan that the accused had been swinging the hurley towards the deceased while shouting: “You don’t who my dad is…You don’t know who I am.”
Taking the hurley from the boy, Mr O’Reilly was heard saying: “I don’t care. I’m not letting a 14-year-old talk to me like that.”
At that point, the accused left the scene but returned minutes later and struck Mr O’Reilly in the chest with a knife.
He then ran off but Mr O’Reilly chased after him and the pair clashed again, with Mr O’Reilly receiving a second stab wound to below his right eye.
Moments after the second altercation, Mr O’Reilly approached a friend and said: "I’m after being stabbed…”
He was then taken by car to the accident and emergency department of the nearby St James’s Hospital where he later went into a cardiac arrest.
And despite the best efforts of the hospital medical staff, which included a cardiac massage, Mr O’Reilly never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 4.05am.
Mr Grehan told the court a post-mortem later revealed the fatal blow had been a knife wound to Mr O’Reilly’s chest that had punctured his heart.
He said: “The critical wound was the one that had gone into the chest and that this was the cause of death.”
Mr Grehan also told the court that assistant state pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster, who had carried out the post-mortem, later viewed CCTV footage of the attack and confirmed that the first blow struck by the boy “was consistent with the injury she found in the autopsy”.
The court was also told that although around 23 youths had been present at the Halloween party, the gardai had struggled to gather witness statements and that 19 arrests had been made during the course of the investigation.
When asked by Mr Grehan if gardai had had concerns about “the safety and well-being of witnesses”, Det Insp Cleary replied: “Serious concerns.”
Days after the killing, on November 4, the accused - who has no previous convictions - attended Kevin Street Garda Station under his own volition with his maternal and paternal grandmothers.
And during a subsequent interview with gardai on that date, Mr Grehan described how one of the grandparents said to her grandson: “Show him the bruises on your arm. When are you going to tell your side of the story? When your solicitor comes?”.
The accused was later charged with Mr O’Reilly’s murder on April 1 this year.
During today’s hearing, which was closed off to members of the public except close relatives of the accused and deceased, Det Insp Cleary agreed with Mr Grehan that the deceased had been a “popular and well-liked member of the community and people spoke highly of him”.
Sentencing was adjourned by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy until February 6, 2017 and the accused was remanded on continuing bail until that date.