Saturday 22 October 2016

'It was stupid and there was no excuse for it' - man who killed with a single punch

Published 30/05/2016 | 15:52

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A convicted killer said he has turned his life around and is encouraging young people to never raise a fist to anyone because of the potential fatal results.

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Ryan Arthur Quinn was convicted for the manslaughter of Finbar McVey (21) with a single fatal punch in Tyrone in September 2003.

The punch that was described by judges as a “moderate blow” ruptured McVey’s vertebral artery and killed him.

“It was stupid and there was no excuse for it. I didn’t seek revenge the night he passed away, it was more of me holding a grudge,” said Quinn on RTE’s Liveline.

“They say I hit him from behind but that’s untrue. I hit him a punch from the front. Now it doesn’t matter if I hit him from behind from the side or from the front I shouldn’t have fired that punch. That’s what I want to get across.”

Quinn said that after the fatal punch he had “a vibe that things weren’t good” but he walked away.

“I never went out with the force to take someone’s life. I was just young and very stupid. It can happen anywhere,” he said.

Quinn acknowledged that he told lies in the past because he was “panicked” but that he will “hold his hand up” now to the crime.

Turning his life around, Quinn now speaks to young offenders to tell them what can happen if they “raise their fists or a weapon”.

“I tell them what it was like to spend my first night in jail. I was put inside a really small room, I was only a kid. I couldn’t breathe properly, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I wanted my mum and dad. I wanted to make a phone call or text but everything was gone. The impact of killing a man was very hard to live with.”

After serving four years in jail, Quinn spent a lot of time drinking and partying. “Everything was going wrong. I was hard to live with, I couldn’t settle down in relationships. I wanted to move away, I wanted to take my own life.”

Once Quinn opened a gym and started helping others with weight issues and confidence he said he started to feel better.

“One day I looked at the food I had in the fridge, the roof I had over my head, the family and friends I had and I thought I had everything I need in life. I needed to give back and help people.”

Quinn has tried to talk to the McVey family twice but understands now why he was refused. “My family and friends get to visit me, but they have to go visit their son at the grave. It’s just not easy.”

Quinn said his heart still sinks when he sees pictures of McVey in the papers. “It hit hard but I have to stay positive. If I can save lives doing what I’m doing, get it out there that this is not the way to resolve any issues.”

“People need to understand that it can happen anywhere, at a nightclub or a football field. It’s not acceptable.”

“I tell people you do not do what I done. It was completely tragic what happened.”

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