Sunday 24 February 2019

'My father was made bits of,' daughter of teacher found dead in his pub tells trial

Man (24) faces manslaughter charge over 56-year-old's death in 2011

Gillian Kenny and her mother Kathleen arrive at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to give evidence in the trial of the man accused of killing John Kenny in Oughterard. Photo: Hany Marzouk
Gillian Kenny and her mother Kathleen arrive at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to give evidence in the trial of the man accused of killing John Kenny in Oughterard. Photo: Hany Marzouk
John Kenny

Ann Healy

The daughter of Oughterard publican and teacher John Kenny, who was found dead in his pub seven years ago, told a jury yesterday she believed a group of Romanian men, led by one man in particular, had killed her father.

Gillian Kenny told the trial: "My father was made bits of. His injuries shattered every bone in his body. He was strangled."

Ms Kenny was giving evidence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court during the trial of 24-year-old Marian Lingurar Jnr, who denies the manslaughter of Mr Kenny (56), at Kenny's Pub, Main Street, Oughterard, on September 25, 2011. He also denies a charge of burglary by trespassing.

Opening the evidence in the trial, Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, told the jury that Mr Kenny had been left the family pub by his late mother and following an amicable separation from his wife, Kathleen, he moved there to live.

The couple remained very good friends and were devoted to their daughter, Gillian.

He said Mr Kenny was held in very high regard at Presentation College, Athenry, where he taught.

Mr Gageby said that a man named Florin Fitzpatrick, who was acquainted with the accused, and his father, Marian Lingurar Sr, worked in the pub at weekends.

He said that on the evening before Mr Kenny's death, the accused, who was 16 at the time, was acting as a bouncer.

Earlier that evening, Mr Lingurar Sr drove his son from their home in Loughgeorge, Claregalway, to work in Kenny's Pub along with Mr Fitzpatrick. He returned around 10.30pm and waited until patrons began to leave around 12.30am. Then, at around 1.30am, he drove the accused and Mr Fitzpatrick home.

Mr Gageby said that, in theory, that left just Mr Kenny - who was a "bit the worse for wear" - alone in the pub.

The next morning, a man found a broken phone near the pub. He dialled the last number, which was Ms Kenny, who thought her father was ringing her. She and her mother had been trying to contact him.

The women went to the bar, the door was open and they asked passer-by Myles Upton to come in with them.

Mr Upton told the trial he found Mr Kenny's body lying on the floor. There was a jacket covering his head. He was lying face down with his hands tied tightly behind his back.

Mr Gageby said a post-mortem examination revealed he had suffered extensive injuries to his head, neck and trunk.

The cause of death was "blunt force trauma and positional asphyxia". He explained that when a person's body was in such a position, they would find it difficult to breathe.

"He didn't die from a heart attack. He died because he was attacked, beaten, injured and left to die in the toilet of the family bar," Mr Gageby said.

"It's our contention that the defendant returned to Oughterard... to steal from the premises and...visit an assault on John Kenny."

Kathleen and Gillian Kenny told the trial that Mr Kenny did not trust Mr Fitzpatrick and had been in fear of him.

They said the deceased had always been a warm, fun-loving person, but something had been troubling him.

Kathleen Kenny said he had told her he was afraid of Mr Fitzpatrick. She said he indicated that he and the other men had taken over the pub and he had no control over them.

During cross-examination, Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, put it to Ms Kenny that she had told gardaí in her statement seven years ago that she believed Florin Fitzpatrick was to blame for her father's death.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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