Tuesday 12 December 2017

Addict kicked his drug habit only to meet a brutal death

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

IT was a truly horrible death.

Gary Bull's battered body was recovered by gardai from a west Cork slurry pit where it had been dumped several weeks earlier.

The 37-year-old's skull had been smashed and he had fractured ribs.

There were still marks on his arms where he had apparently desperately tried to defend himself.

Mr Bull, who worked as an odd-job man and gardener, arrived in Ireland in 2000 as a heroin addict trying to beat his habit.

He largely succeeded, though he did briefly relapse when he returned to Liverpool for a year.

But, while in Ireland, Mr Bull drank heavily. When he drank he could be both unpredictable and violent.

He beat his former partner Claire Freeman to the extent that several times she required medical treatment from her GP.

His employer Liam Murphy at one stage intervened he was so concerned.

Mr Murphy said that Mr Bull was a great worker and extremely reliable -- but "he liked his drink".

When sober, Mr Bull was apparently very remorseful over the violent incidents.

Mr Bull also cheated on his partner -- at one point being caught with another woman by Ms Freeman.

Their relationship ended in August 2007 -- one month before he was killed.

On the day of his death, Mr Bull arrived at a three-day birthday party being hosted by Una Geaney at her home spoiling for a fight.

In his hand he held a bottle of Cork Cream Sherry.

He challenged several party-goers to fight him -- and those who knew him were mystified about "why Gary was going mad".

At one point, he taunted Ms Freeman about the affair he had been having.

When he started waving a petrol-driven concrete-saw, one party-goer took action and struck Mr Bull in the face with a piece of timber to disarm him.

His face had then swollen so much that Geaney said he resembled "the Elephant Man".

When the wounded Mr Bull went into the farmhouse, one party-goer -- Amanda McNabb (25) -- tried to rub salt into his injuries.

She then asked his partner whether she wanted to do the same?

While witness evidence was contradictory about the details of the fatal attack, Mr Bull lost his life in a brutal assault.

A heavy wooden mallet was used to strike him repeatedly in the head -- with Geaney insisting to her trial that the blows to the head were struck by Jason 'Jay the Hat' Thomas (40) and not her.

At one point, Jay the Hat was said to be standing over the body of Mr Bull amazed that he was still alive.

Ms Freeman said she asked Geaney what had happened to Mr Bull.

"She said she had smashed his head in with a mallet. She (Geaney) said he is in the slurry pit and 'I did it for you Claire'," Ms Freeman added.

Irish Independent

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