Thursday 23 November 2017

Murderer told cellmate 'I'll kill you and put you in the bin' during 15-minute jail attack

Killer Ciaran Moran
Killer Ciaran Moran

Andrew Phelan

A NOTORIOUS killer was in jail awaiting trial for the murder of a homeless man, who he beat to death before setting his body alight, when he brutally battered another prisoner around his cell in a 15-minute attack.

Ciaran Moran (31) threatened to kill his cellmate and put him "in the bin" during the sustained and unprovoked attack while he was on remand in Cloverhill Prison.

The victim had turned his back to put the kettle on when the double killer began to rain blows on him, leaving him bleeding and with two black eyes.

Dublin District Court heard that Moran was in custody at the time for killing homeless Gerard Donnelly, who he set alight after beating him to death with a hammer.

Gerard Donnelly
Gerard Donnelly

Punched

He is now serving a life sentence for that murder, as well as a separate sentence for the manslaughter of a friend, Keith Flanagan, who he beat to death in Cork.

Judge David Waters gave him another two-month sentence, concurrent to his life term.

Moran, from Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Charles O'Connor.

The court heard the incident happened on October 6, 2014.

Mr O'Connor said he was in the cell with Moran and another man, Dean Fagan, when he went to put the kettle on. "Next thing I was getting punched around the cell by Ciaran Moran," he said.

He was hit all around his head and was left with two "very bad" black eyes, cuts and swelling to his face.

"It went on for at least 15 minutes," he added.

The assault stopped when a prison officer opened the door and Mr O'Connor ran out. He was taken to a nurse officer for treatment. Mr O'Connor had shared the cell with Moran for three weeks and nothing happened in the lead-up to explain the assault, he said.

In cross-examination, he said the blows were hard and he tried to block them but they "kept coming".

He said Moran told him: "I'll kill you, I'll put you in the bin."

Mr O'Connor denied that it was he who had been in a bad mood because he had been deprived of phone privileges.

He said he did not know anything about other prisoners he had shared a cell with asking to be moved.

Assistant Chief Officer Edward Fitzsimons said he saw marks on Mr O'Connor's face when the cell door was opened.

The court heard that Mr O'Connor had suffered from his injuries for a month after the assault and had to be moved to a cell by himself because he was afraid to share with other people.

A nurse officer said she treated Mr O'Connor for minor wounds to his forehead and under his eye.

They were two grazes not requiring stitches and she cleaned them, applied an ice pack and gave Mr O'Connor painkillers.

He had no black eyes at the time but "that wouldn't happen straight away", she said.

His skin was slightly broken, she added. Moran's barrister argued that Mr O'Connor's account of events was not credible and that if the assault had been sustained for 15 minutes, he would have suffered more serious injuries.

She also said Mr O'Connor appeared to have "dark shadows" under his eyes and was "probably always like that".

Counsel further argued that Mr O'Connor's view of his attacker was obscured because he was facing the kettle.

The accused did not offer any evidence.

Garda Kevin Mullahy said Moran had 27 previous convictions. As well as murder and manslaughter, he had been convicted of false imprisonment, assault and violent disorder.

There was no release date for his life sentence. Moran had been homeless and struggled with alcohol before he went into custody. The judge set recognisances in the event of an appeal.

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