Friday 23 February 2018

Limerick man to be sentenced for killing his father

Jessica Magee

A 24-year-old Limerick man is to be sentenced next Monday for killing his father nearly two years ago.

Gerard McNamara, of Cedar Court, Kennedy Park, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Joseph O'Donnell (48) at Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick on October 1, 2010.

The court heard a row broke out between father and son after they had spent the day drinking at Joseph O'Donnell's house on Hyde Road, following two trips to Fine Wines off-licence on Limerick's Parnell Street.

Joseph O'Donnell's former partner Jean Coleman said both men were “steamed” drunk and that Joey hugged his son and told him he loved him.

The court heard that McNamara “just snapped” when Joseph O'Donnell made “disparaging comments” about his son's mother, suggesting he would need to take a paternity test to prove he was Gerard's father.

Counsel for the defence Mr Anthony Sammon SC said the accused man was also enraged when his father suggested he had been abused by his grandfather, who had raised him.

The court heard Gerard McNamara began roaring “I'm not a fool”, knocked his father to the ground and started kicking him and hitting him with “anything he could get his hands on” including items of furniture and an almost full beer can.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Paddy McCarthy SC said gardaí were called to the scene at about 3.30 am and found the two men drunk and arguing in the front garden.

The gardaí noted that a window had been broken, a gas heater was lying on the ground and that Joseph O'Donnell had bruising under his left eye.

Joseph O'Donnell declined to make a complaint to gardaí or let an ambulance be called, claiming “it was nothing, just family stuff”.

Mr O'Donnell then went to bed and the alarm was raised the following morning when his partner Jean Coleman was unable to wake him.

He was taken by ambulance to hospital in an unconscious state and later pronounced dead.

A post mortem carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar confirmed that Joseph O'Donnell had died from blunt force trauma to the head.

A victim impact statement read in court on behalf of the dead man's older brother Anthony O'Donnell said Joey was “highly regarded” by his friends and family, who would be “lost without him”.

“He didn't deserve to die that way,” the statement read.

Lawyers for Gerard McNamara said he was devastated by the consquences of the violence that had broken out and that he would suffer every day.

Detective Garda Pat Whelan said the accused man had a very strange relationship with his father, and that “when it was good, it was very good; when it was bad, it was very bad”.

The court heard that McNamara has 16 previous convictions including theft, possession of drugs and public order offences.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded McNamara in custody to be sentenced next Monday, July 23.

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