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'Overwhelming evidence' against man accused of murdering friend with rock - jury hears


The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

There is “overwhelming evidence” against a man who is accused of murdering his friend by repeatedly striking him on the head with a rock, a jury was has been told.

Thomas O’Connor (29) of Burnaby Court, Greystones is charged with murdering John O’Brien, who was from Burnaby Lawns in Greystones, on June 4, 2010.

The father of one has pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to the 22-year-old’s manslaughter at Farrankelly Road, Delgany, Co Wicklow.

He admits hitting him over the head with a rock on the night in question.

Today, on the seventh day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court, closing speeches began.

Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, prosecuting, told the jury that they were the “judges of the facts in the case”.

He said that they must decide “beyond all reasonable doubt” whether the accused was guilty of Mr O’Brien’s manslaughter or murder.

But Mr Vaughan Buckley added: “There is an abundance of evidence on which you can find him guilty of murder.”

He said that a “defence of partial self-defence has been raised in this case”.

Explaining the relevance of this to the jury, Mr Vaughan Buckley said that “in the case of lethal force, if the accused uses more force than is reasonably necessary but no more than he, in your judgement considered necessary” then they should find him guilty of manslaughter.

However, the prosecution counsel said that there was “overwhelming evidence that the accused is guilty of murder”.

Referring to interviews the accused gave to gardai following his arrest on June 5, 2010, Mr Vaughan Buckley said the Mr O’Connor had told officers he had hit the deceased “two or three times” with the rock.

When gardai asked if he (O’Connor) had “lost his head”, the accused replied: “When he threw the rock at me, he stumbled and fell to the ground.”

Mr Vaughan Buckley told the jury: “He didn’t say ‘he lost his head’,”, adding that in later interviews the accused had “admitted that he went too far”.

The jury was also reminded how the accused claimed both men had been fighting before the fatal blows were struck and that accused said he had got "a couple of boxes to the head from John".

But Mr Vaughan Buckley disputed this claim, saying that a medical examination of the accused after his arrest showed “no signs of head injuries”.

Mr O’Connor has also claimed that Mr O’Brien was alive and “still moving” after he fled the scene.

However, Mr Vaughan Buckley said that “not one witness has given evidence that they saw him moving” when paramedics were called to the scene minutes after the fatal attack.

Defence counsel Fergal Kavanagh SC will address the jury tomorrow.

The trial continues.

Online Editors