Murder of homeless man 'stuff of nightmares'
A young man who assaulted and then pushed a homeless man into the rubbish chute of an apartment complex was jailed for life for a murder a judge described as "the stuff of nightmares".
David 'Locky' O'Loughlin (31), with an address at Garden City Apartments, North Main Street, Cork, had denied the murder of Liam Manley (59), who died after being trapped inside the narrow rubbish chute - and whose body was only found when a maintenance man tried to clear the blocked chute after being alerted by residents.
He was convicted of the murder by unanimous decision of a Central Criminal Court jury after two hours and 10 minutes of deliberations.
O'Loughlin - who remained emotionless with his head bowed as the guilty verdict was returned - received a mandatory life sentence, backdated to 2014.
The court heard he had more than 50 previous convictions, including four for serious assaults.
Ms Justice Tara Burns said the killing was "truly the stuff of nightmares".
"(The victim) was an old, frail and defenceless man...it was beyond shocking," she said.
In a victim impact statement, the Manley family said they have been "haunted" by the manner of his death while trapped in the rubbish chute.
"It will haunt us forever," they said. "He did not deserve to be pushed into a chute four storeys up. It is disturbing to hear how Liam was left to die - alone and afraid."
The family said the victim was "a kind, caring man who loved life". While he suffered from alcohol problems, he was inoffensive and had never hurt anyone.
The Manley family said O'Loughlin had shown no remorse.
The prosecution claimed Mr Manley met a particularly horrible death after becoming trapped in the rubbish chute.
O'Loughlin, of Garden City Apartments, North Main Street, Cork, had denied the murder of Mr Manley on May 12, 2013.
Prosecutor Patrick McGrath SC said Mr Manley, who suffered from an alcohol problem and had been assisted by Cork Simon Community, met a gruesome death in the rubbish chute.
"There is no doubt that as a result of his (O'Loughlin's) actions, he (Manley) met a particularly horrible death," he said.
Mr McGrath said there was absolutely no justification for what happened to Mr Manley.
He said that there was no suggestion either provocation or self defence were involved.
However, defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC said the accused believed Mr Manley would pass safely down the chute and into a large bin at the bottom. He said what the accused did that night was "morally repugnant".