Saturday 24 March 2018

Man who killed friend with rock facing life

Niamh O'Donoghue

A MAN who bludgeoned his friend to death with a rock during a row is facing a life sentence.

Thomas O'Connor (24), of Burnaby Court, Greystones, had denied murdering John O'Brien at Farrankelly Road, Delgany, Co Wicklow, on June 4, 2010.

But a jury at the Central Criminal Court took four hours to find the accused guilty in a unanimous verdict yesterday.

Mr Justice Barry White deferred sentencing until December 12 to allow for preparation of a victim impact report.

However, the jury was told he had no discretion in departing from the mandatory life sentence before he exempted them from any further duty for 15 years.

During the trial, deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said Mr O'Brien had died from a catastrophic brain injury caused by a blow to head.

O' Connor had told gardai in interview that Mr O' Brien had started the row and tried to hit him with a rock.

He told gardai that he only hit Mr O' Brien two or three times with the rock and "didn't mean to kill him".

The accused said in interview he was "in a rage" and admitted he had "lost it".

The court was also told the deceased had been abusive earlier that day, was drunk and was trying to initiate fights with numerous people.

Irish Independent

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