Tuesday 27 September 2016

Family are 'haunted' by nightmare death of rubbish chute murder victim

Published 01/04/2015 | 02:30

David O'Loughlin (blue shirt and tie), accompanied by barristers and prison officers, going to the appartments in Cork city where he murdered Liam Manley
David O'Loughlin (blue shirt and tie), accompanied by barristers and prison officers, going to the appartments in Cork city where he murdered Liam Manley
Mary Lynch speaks about her murdered brother Liam Manley
Liam Manley

The family of a homeless man who met an agonising death trapped in an apartment rubbish chute said no human being should have to spend their last moments of life in such a nightmare.

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Their statement was heard as David O'Loughlin (28) was handed a mandatory life sentence for murdering Liam Manley (58).

The court heard O'Loughlin invited the homeless man back to his flat for a drink, but then punched him and shoved him into a narrow metal rubbish chute.

Liam Manley, who was described as small and frail, died from mechanical asphyxia trapped in the narrow metal chute with bags of rubbish just in front of his face.

His body was only found when a maintenance man went to free the blocked chute on the fourth floor.

In a harrowing victim impact statement, Mr Manley's sister, Kay Murphy, said they were still haunted by the terrible manner of his death.

"We as a family cannot find words to describe how we felt when his life was so tragically taken.

"To die in such horrific and frightening circumstances should be something no-one should have to endure.

"We feel hurt and sad. He didn't deserve to have his life taken in such a way. He didn't deserve to be put in a rubbish chute, four flights up. We wake up at night thinking about his last thoughts. He was waiting to die so alone and isolated from the world because of the act of one person.

"We will have to live with this nightmare for the rest of our lives. To try to imagine his final act of living was spent with the rubbish is a tragedy. This will haunt us forever.

"There has been no remorse shown for this vicious crime, only a callous disregard for his life and dignity," she said.

O'Loughlin admitted putting Mr Manley - a resident of Cork Simon homeless centre - in the rubbish chute on May 12, 2013, but said he only intended him to slide down to the ground floor and go about his business.

However, the trial heard that O'Loughlin went back to his flat and boasted to an acquaintance: "The man is down the drain."

In evidence, O'Loughin said he was later horrified to learn the man had died.

"I did not want him to die in that chute. I was horrified when I learned he had died in this chute.

"I could not believe my actions had led to the death of this man," he added.

Emotionless

A Central Criminal Court jury in Cork convicted O'Loughlin by a unanimous verdict after a three-week trial.

The conviction came just minutes after the jury had asked to inspect the rubbish chute in the Garden City-North Gate apartment complex in Cork city centre.

O'Loughlin, who denied the charge, remained emotionless as the guilty verdict was read out - but angrily shouted at a garda witness during the sentencing hearing.

O'Loughlin, who is originally from Clare, has an address at Garden City Apartments-North Gate House, Cork.

He has 49 previous convictions including one for assault causing serious harm in 2006.

Irish Independent

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