Tuesday 16 July 2019

'One-punch' killer jailed for eight years for attack at McGregor fight party

Victim: Graham Tobin died in hospital 11 days after the attack
Victim: Graham Tobin died in hospital 11 days after the attack

Michael McDonnell

A man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a 'one-punch' attack that killed a father of four at a house party after a Conor McGregor fight last year.

Francis Hughes (27), of 30 Sruth an Iuir, Oram, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, had admitted that he assaulted Graham Tobin (41) at that address at around 6am on October 7 last year, where those attending a party had been watching the UFC fight from Las Vegas.

In passing sentence at Monaghan Circuit Court, Judge John Aylmer said that while this was a case that could be described as a single-punch manslaughter, it was an "exceptionally serious one".

He said the aggravating features included the unprovoked nature of the attack, the severity of the punch that had in itself caused severe fractures to the nose, and the dangerous circumstances in which Mr Tobin had been standing on a step above a patio.

The judge also noted the accused's "expression of satisfaction" at having knocked the man out, and the subsequent failure to seek medical attention for Mr Tobin for about four hours, during which the defendant also prevented others from seeking such attention in order to avoid personal culpability.

Judge Aylmer also referred to the suggestion by Hughes at one point that the injured man could be put in the boot of his own car and dumped.

While no medical evidence was given to show that an earlier intervention might have saved Mr Tobin, the judge said it was safe to assume that the delay did not help, and that this had been stated in evidence from Sergeant John Daly as being the view that a number of doctors had expressed.

Mr Tobin, a chef, never regained consciousness after the attack and died at Beaumont Hospital 11 days later.

Judge Aylmer sentenced Hughes to 10 years. He reduced this to eight years after taking into account a number of factors, including Hughes's early guilty plea and his expressions and letters of remorse and apology.

In a moving victim impact statement, Mr Tobin's wife, Ramona, outlined the devastating impact his death has had on his whole family, including their four sons.

She said it was difficult enough to accept that her husband had died from a violent assault, but this was compounded by the way he was left lying "for hours" in "a stranger's house" while critically injured - an action that she believed had clearly impacted on his chances of survival.

Irish Independent

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