Row over slow driving led to road-rage killing
A PETTY row over driving slowly away from a set of traffic lights resulted in Ireland's first road-rage killing.
Two drivers clashed verbally as they made off in the same direction.
But the disagreement turned ugly when one driver grabbed a hurley from the boot of his vehicle and attacked Englishman Raymond Bates, hitting him several times on the head and body.
Mr Bates died in hospital on Thursday night after the attack in Sandymount, south Dublin, on Sunday evening.
Gardai are now awaiting the outcome of a post-mortem examination on the body of the victim before deciding on their next move.
The post-mortem was due to have been carried out yesterday but was delayed pending the arrival of his medical records from his native England.
The 49-year-old victim was battered on the head and body with a hurley after an earlier verbal confrontation with the driver of another vehicle.
Mr Bates had been living in a rented apartment in Sandymount, where he was working with a construction company laying a gas pipeline.
He was a regular visitor here on contract work and spent the rest of the time with his family in a three-bedroomed, semi-detached house at Dinting Road, Peterlee, Durham.
Gardai are following a definite line of inquiry and have already interviewed the driver of the other vehicle involved in the incident.
The man, who left the scene after the clash, spoke to gardai after his vehicle was traced.
Relatives and friends of Mr Bates, who had travelled from England to be at his bedside in Beaumont Hospital, returned home yesterday afternoon.
There were emotional scenes prior to their departure as they gathered at the Regency Hotel, close to the airport.
Mr Bates's wife, Brenda, who was on crutches, and the couple's three sons were hugged by friends. Many of the group were visibly upset and some were in tears.
A man identifying himself as Mr Bates's brother told the Irish Independent that they were too devastated to comment on the tragedy.
Meanwhile, neighbours of Mr Bates in Peterlee spoke of their shock over the death.
A friend of the family delivered a condolence card to the house yesterday afternoon. He said: "I'm sending a card to Brenda to say how sorry I am to hear about her husband. Ray was a happy-go-lucky kind of man. They are a nice family."
The road rage incident -- the first in Ireland to result in a death -- took place at the junction of Sandymount Road, Newbridge Avenue and Tritonville Road in Sandymount, at around 7.25pm on Sunday.
It stemmed apparently from an argument between the drivers of two vehicles as they took off in the same direction from a set of traffic lights.
One driver was unhappy that the other was not moving quickly away and it resulted in an exchange of words.
The driver of the other vehicle-- who was accompanied by two passengers, including a child, and who is from the locality -- then jumped out and grabbed a hurley from the boot.
He began striking Mr Bates's car on the bonnet and when the Englishman got out of the car, he was struck several times on the head and body with the hurley.
The driver of the other vehicle did not remain at the scene after the incident.
Mr Bates returned home, but was unwell the next morning and feeling disoriented. A friend sought help and Mr Bates was taken by ambulance to St Vincent's Hospital but was later transferred to Beaumont where he died on Thursday night.
A number of witnesses have already been interviewed by gardai and officers are now seeking passengers on a No 2 bus, which passed through the area at the time.
Anyone who witnessed the incident has been asked to contact gardai at Irishtown garda station, tel 01 6669600.
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