Friday 24 November 2017

Son beat father to death in drunken 20-minute attack

Barry Duggan and Jessica Magee

A 24-YEAR-OLD beat his father to death in a drunken 20-minute assault after a row over whether they were really related.

The violent attack happened after Joseph O'Donnell said he would need to take a paternity test to prove that Gerard McNamara was his son.

McNamara, of Cedar Court, Kennedy Park, Limerick will be sentenced next week after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his father Joseph O'Donnell (48) at Hyde Road, Prospect, Limerick on October 1, 2010.

The victim, known locally as Joey, died hours after he was assaulted at his home.

Yesterday, the Central Criminal Court heard that a row broke out between father and son after they had spent the day drinking at Mr O'Donnell's home.

The previous day McNamara bought a case of beer at an off-licence, having already consumed eight cans.

Mr O'Donnell's former partner, Jean Coleman, said both men were "steamed" drunk and that Joey hugged his son and told him he loved him

But the court heard that McNamara then snapped when his father made "disparaging comments" about his son's mother and suggested he would need to take a paternity test to prove he was McNamara's father.

The court heard McNamara shouted: "I'm not a fool," knocked his father to the ground, started kicking him and hitting him with "anything he could get his hands on" -- including items of furniture and a beer can -- for more than 20 minutes.

Trauma

Paddy McCarthy, prosecuting, said gardai were called to the Hyde Road scene at about 3.30am and found the two men arguing in the front garden.

A window had been broken, a gas heater was lying on the ground and Mr O'Donnell had bruising under his left eye.

The injured man declined to make a complaint to gardai or call an ambulance, claiming: "It was nothing, just family stuff."

But the following morning Mr O'Donnell wouldn't wake up.

He was taken by ambulance to hospital in an unconscious state and was later pronounced dead.

Mr Justice Paul Carney was told a post-mortem confirmed Mr O'Donnell died from blunt force trauma to the head.

The victim's older brother, Anthony O'Donnell, said Mr O'Donnell was "highly regarded" by friends and family, who would be "lost without him".

"He didn't deserve to die that way," his victim impact statement read.

Det Gda Pat Whelan said the accused man had a very strange relationship with his father, and told the judge that "when it was good, it was very good; when it was bad, it was very bad".

McNamara -- who has 16 previous convictions -- was remanded in custody.

He will be sentenced on Monday.

Irish Independent

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