Monday 20 November 2017

Eugene's killing was 'senseless', says his family

Eugene Moloney and girlfriend Chichi Tran
Eugene Moloney and girlfriend Chichi Tran
Gary Burch (21), who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of journalist Eugene Moloney, outside the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Sam Griffin

THE man who killed journalist Eugene Moloney after punching him in the head and then raising his arms in celebration is to be sentenced in two weeks.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring, who adjourned the case until July 2, said she needed more time to consider a sentence for Gary Burch (22) from Kennington Close, Templeogue, Co Dublin, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Moloney.

In victim impact statements to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, members of Mr Moloney's family recalled "a larger than life figure" whose death had left them in a state of deep mourning.

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Eugene's brother Sean said his death was "senseless and unnecessary" and criticised a society where such attacks had become "the norm".

"The world has been sadly robbed of a great and gentle personality, a man of substance. Has the perpetrator of this cruel and senseless act anything of any similar value to contribute to society? Or will he ever? I do not think so."

The court also heard a victim impact statement by Eugene's sister Roisin who said her brother had a big heart and "legendary cocktail skills".

She recalled a larger-than-life figure and said he was "a gentle giant who loved life".

"He was a man with a big heart who loved life. But most of all he loved people. He loved his family and his friends and his Vietnamese girlfriend Chichi," she said in her statement, which was read out by counsel for the prosecution Pieter Le Vert BL.

Eugene had been planning on marrying Chichi who had been left devastated by his death and now felt isolated and alone, the court heard.

Roisin Moloney said the death also had a traumatic affect on her family and that she struggled to sleep at night while her husband had also been affected.

"Life is dull and so very, very grey now," she said in her statement. "Our lives are poorer without him. I miss him so very, very much. We all do."

Family and friends had to watch CCTV footage of the late journalist's final moments on Camden Street in Dublin, in the early hours of June 24 last year. The footage showed Gary Burch strike the 55-year-old Donegal native, before raising his hands to the air in celebration and shouting "boom".

Mr Moloney was taken to St James's Hospital where he was pronounced dead an hour after the incident.

Mr Burch, an apprentice mechanic who has no previous convictions, was arrested and charged by gardai three days after the incident. He broke down when being questioned by gardai and said it was "a moment of craziness" and told gardai he was "disgusted".

Burch told gardai he had drunk 10 bottles of beer and several shorts on the night of the assault. Defending counsel Mary Rose Gearty said her client was "actively seeking to atone for what he has done" and that he wanted to be remanded in custody.

Mr Burch read out a letter apologising to the Moloney family, while several character references said the action was "out of character" for the youngest of a family of four. "I'm sorry for the loss to the Moloney family. I have to live with this for the rest of my life," Mr Burch said.

In adjourning sentencing for two weeks, Judge Ring said she "did not want to reach a judgment that is an injustice to anyone".

Irish Independent

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