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Coroner sends nightclub death case back to DPP

A CORONER has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to re-examine the case of a 23-year-old man who suffocated inside a Cork nightclub during an incident with bouncers.

Dr Myra Cullinane yesterday adjourned the inquest into the death in March last year of Adrian Moynihan of Robin Hill, Ballyvolane saying new evidence had emerged. The evidence emerged as Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, viewed video footage from security cameras outside the nightclub which captured the moments leading up to the young man's death.

The DPP ruled out any prosecution over Mr Moynihan's death in February despite demands from his parents, Andrew and Elisabeth for justice.

Yesterday, they wept openly at Dr Cullinane's statement. "I know he (Adrian) hit someone a slap, but is that a reason for him to die?" Andrew Moynihan asked after the hearing.

"The past 15 months have been an absolute nightmare for our family. We're devastated and we couldn't celebrate Christmas, our children's 21st birthdays or anything else because of what happened to Adrian," Elisabeth Moynihan said.

"All I want is justice to be done and the people who caused Adrian's death to be held accountable."

Adrian Moynihan died on March 26, 2001 after an incident at Sidetrax nightclub on Grafton Street, Cork. Having watched the video evidence which showed the 23-year-old strike one of the bouncers, and then be dragged into the nightclub in a melee with other security staff, Dr Cassidy said that she wanted to amend her earlier inquest evidence.

Last October, Dr Cassidy described the cause of Adrian Moynihan's death to be asphyxia due to having his neck compressed or held.

Yesterday, she said that, in light of all the evidence, she now feels the situation was "much more complicated than I first thought".

Dr Cassidy said the best description for Adrian Moynihan's death would be "restraint asphyxia" whereby he suffocated due to having his neck compressed, being held face-down on the ground so that his breathing was restricted and having his arms held behind his back to that the ability of his chest to expand with breathing was limited.

The pathologist also pointed out that she had noticed "pinpoint haemorrhages" on the face, eyelids and mouth of Mr Moynihan - classic signs of death by asphyxia.

Dr Cassidy also noticed multiple abrasions and bruises over Mr Moynihan's neck, chest, arms and legs.

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In evidence offered at yesterday's inquest, the bouncers involved - Tony O'Connell, David Hickey and John Long - denied kicking, beating or biting Adrian Moynihan.

A fourth bouncer, Kevin Corbett, will give evidence when the inquest is resumed.

Mr O'Connell insisted that the melee which resulted in the security staff and Adrian Moynihan ending up in a corridor - where there is no security camera coverage - was "entirely accidental".

Mr Moynihan and a friend, Darragh Forde, had been refused entry to the nightclub that evening.

Mr Forde said in evidence that they, he and Mr Moynihan, had consumed at least 15 pints of lager each before attempting to gain entry to the club.

During a video-taped discussion on the street outside the nightclub, security staff refused the duo admission and pointed out that Mr Forde was barred. Adrian Moynihan then became aggressive with the security staff.

Tony O'Connell claimed Moynihan warned three individual bouncers he would "bust our heads".

Words were exchanged between the two before Mr Moynihan lashed out and punched Mr O'Connell in the face. He was then grabbed by other bouncers and, in a melee, the group staggered through an emergency exit. Mr Moynihan was held, face-down, on the ground though all three bouncers denied either kneeling on his back or holding him by the throat.

One witness, Ciaran O'Driscoll, told the inquest he saw a security staff member kicking Adrian Moynihan in the side while he was on the ground.

Gardai arrived within eight minutes but a garda noticed that Mr Moynihan appeared to be in difficulties and ordered an ambulance. Dr Cullinane said that the inquest will be re-convened when the DPP formally responds to her request.

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