Friday 24 November 2017

Man who killed teenager Niall Dorr to be sentenced Friday

Two more people have been arrested over the death of kickboxer Niall Dorr
Two more people have been arrested over the death of kickboxer Niall Dorr

Nicola Donnelly

THE man who killed teenager Niall Dorr after punching and kicking him "like a rag doll" and bouncing his head off a road in an unprovoked attack is to be sentenced on Friday.

Unemployed father-of-three Douglas Ward (36) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Dorr, on October 13, 2010, at the Central Criminal Court on the morning of his trial on October 30 last.

Detective Inspector Pat Marry told prosecuting counsel Mr Brendan Grehan, SC, a number of 999 calls were made at around 9pm stating a young man was lying unconscious on the footpath in Castle Road, Dundalk, partially dressed and underneath a parked car.

The teenager was identified as Niall Dorr and was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where his condition deteriorated rapidly.

He was transferred to Beamount Hospital where it was discovered he had irrecoverable brain damage and surgical intervention was not possible.

The court heard Ward, who had been drinking all day, was with four males and two females who were trying to gain access to a house party at Castle Road when Mr Dore and his two friends were walking by making their way home.

Det Marry said an incident at a fair ground the previous night, which Mr Dorr and Ward were not involved in, may have sparked the row between the groups.

“It was a chance encounter between the groups,” said Det Marry.

“During the fracas, Mr Dorr became isolated with Mr Ward and he was assaulted in a very violent fashion,” said Det Marry.

“Mr Dorr was trying to keep the peace,” he added.

A witness told gardai she saw Ward “bouncing” Mr Dorr's head off the road up to ten times and kicking him in the head a number of times.

She said Mr Dorr was “like a rag doll and was totally unresponsive.”

Another witness gave a graphic account to gardai saying it was a “continuous beating with vicious kicking and punching.”

A third witness said he saw a “fella on the ground who looked like he was lifeless and a man kicking and stomping on his head.”

He said Ward, with an address at Loughantarve, Knockbridge, Co Louth was “banging” Mr Dorr's head off the wheel of a parked car.

Ward constantly denied to gardai he was at the scene, despite his DNA being found on a cigarette found at the scene and his DNA on Mr Dore's t-shirt. Over 400 statements were taken and CCTV footage from various locations detailing the movements of Ward on the day.

After the incident, Ward and another male got a taxi to an off-licence where they purchased more alcohol and returned to his home.

Dr Marie Cassidy said Mr Dorr died on October 14, 2010 as a result of head trauma and a fracture to the skull which caused hemorrhaging.

She noted a zig zag pattern on Mr Dorr's forehead which she concluded he was “struck with an object of pattern such as a shoe in a stamping motion.”

Niall's father David read out an emotional Victim Impact report on behalf his family and said the ultimate result of Niall's horrific injuries was that he died a lonely death on the streets of a town he loved so much.

He said the birth of Niall was one of the happiest days in their lives. “When the nurse handed him to me, this 6lb 9oz bundle of joy actually had me in tears. I didn't cry again for 18 years and 48 weeks, which is exactly how long we had him for.”

He said Niall had represented Ireland for several years at the World Champion Kick Boxing, winning a bronze medal in 2004 and a silver medal in 2009. He said even in his death Niall showed his consideration for others as he saved the lives of five people by donating his organs after he had only signed a donor card three months before his death.

“One of the toughest things myself and Shane (Niall's brother) will ever had have to do was to carry his coffin out of the house and for his man (Veronica) to walk behind us was equally tough on her.”

“From now on we have must be ready to accept that new of other tragic deaths will bring us back to what happened to Niall,” said David. “We could have accepted this better if he had died through an illness or an accident but not this way. This was cruel and heartless and I just hope when the accused looks at his children he will think of the young man he killed.” He said Veronica, Niall's mother cannot bear to go near the street where it happened because it would tear her apart.

“At the moment, in this country, the price of a human life is sinking to new lows everyday,” said David.

The morning of the altercation Niall had attended an interview for the Irish Army.

He said instead of celebrating Niall's 21st several weeks ago with a party, all they could do was visit his grave and lay flowers.

He said the family draw the curtains at night in Niall's room and open them in the morning. “His picture sits on his desk and we say goodnight and good morning to him every day," he said.

He said if what happened to Niall serves to wake people up to the tragedies they bestow on others, it would in some small way help them. “But this is a flawed hope because our society is moving on to repeat again and again the very acts of poison that occurred that night. Death, murder and destruction are causing havoc on our streets with no sign of a cure," said David.

“Niall's short life touched many and he left the world a better place for having been here. Simply put he was a class act,” said David.

“We would love to think that when we ask him how we did, when we meet again, he will say “Ye did me proud.” We now intend to do just that,” he added.

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