Dead man was ‘black and blue and bleeding from eyes’ before murder accused punched him
One of seven Dubliners charged with murdering a man, who was beaten to death, said the deceased was already ‘black and blue and bleeding from his eyes’ before he punched him.
The jury in the Central Criminal Court trial was hearing evidence on Friday of garda interviews conducted with one of the accused, Graham Palmer, who initially denied assaulting the 20-year-old.
Dale Creighton was assaulted on New Year’s Morning 2014 at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road. The Tallaght native died in hospital the following day.
A woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder and went on trial last week.
They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26) with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) currently of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a’ Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.
Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge. However Jason Beresford later changed his plea and pleaded guilty to the violent disorder charge.
Garda Alan Young testified yesterday that he interviewed Graham Palmer a number of times that New Year’s Day.
“I didn’t put a finger on that young fella,” said Mr Palmer initially.
He said he was walking home in the early hours when he heard a commotion.
“That young fella was black and blue long before I got to the bridge,” he said.
He said that he heard screaming and shouting.
“That young one was hysterical on the bridge. I walked up to see if she was ok,” he said, referring to Aisling Burke.
“That young fella was in a ball,” he said. “His face was black and blue and he had blood pi**ing from his eyes.”
He said he was told that someone had robbed Ms Burke of her bag and phone and that someone was asking the deceased where the phone was.
He said that someone had given the deceased ‘either a boot or a punch’ while Mr Palmer was picking him up off the ground.
His interviewers told him that chances were Mr Creighton would not survive.
“Well, I hope to God for him and for his family that he does,” he responded.
“I didn’t put him in that state,” he said, when it was put to him that he hadn’t helped him.
“I did not do that to that young fella,” he said. “I didn’t kick him… I picked him up but I didn’t put him in a ball like that.”
He said he was 100 percent sure that he hadn’t touched him.
He was later shown CCTV footage of the fatal assault and identified himself crouching over the injured party and was asked what was happening.
“There were people trying to kick him and punch him and I tried to prevent it,” he said.
“But, you hit him yourself,” it was put to him.
“I did. I hit him in the stomach,” he said.
He was asked why.
“I slapped him in the stomach just to get his attention,” he replied.
“You again speak to him as he’s lying lifeless. What did you say?” he was asked.
He said he didn’t know.
He agreed that he had hit him again as he lay upside down and that he appeared to get something on his hand. He was asked if this was blood.
“I got blood on my face when someone kicked him,” he said.
It was put to him that he had left him to die when the gardaí arrived.
“He was alive when I left,” he said. “Everybody else ran so I just did.”
He was asked how he felt, having seen the footage.
“Not good, ashamed,” he said.
“I slapped him in the stomach twice,” he said when asked about his involvement.
However, he then agreed that he had also punched him in the face.
He was asked if he had anything to say about his actions.
“I deeply regret them,” he responded, later saying he had got involved out of stupidity.
The court had already heard that he and Ms Burke were holding hands when they were arrested nearby shortly after the gardai arrived.
He was asked if they were a couple and he said no. He said he had put his arm around her because she was ‘shaking like a leaf’.
He denied trying to look like a normal couple, who had nothing to do with what had happened.
The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and the jury of six men and six women.