Saturday 25 November 2017

Young man who died was 'smacked in head' with baseball bat after he 'thumped' parked van

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Alison O’Riordan

A young man was "smacked" "at the back of his head" by a man with a baseball bat after the deceased hit a parked van "a thump", a murder trial jury has heard.

Zoltan Almasi (44) with an address at Harbour View, Naas, Co Kildare is charged with murdering Joseph Dunne at the same address on May 16 2014.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Almasi pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Dunne.

Today prosecution counsel Mr Bernard Condon SC called Mikey McDonagh to give evidence.

The 20 year-old-man from Kildare told the jury he met up with the deceased JoJo Dunne (Joseph Dunne) and another friend Gavin Breen on May 16.

The court heard the boys also met up with three girls at the harbour in Naas on the day.

At 10pm the group decided they wanted to catch a bus home to Kildare so they began walking along the harbour.

Mikey McDonagh told the court that along the way they met a man with "a hairy beard" who JoJo had "some interaction with."

"We brought JoJo on. As we approached a vehicle which was parked against a wall, JoJo was kinda in bad form over something and he took it out on a van. He jostled it, hit it a thump," said the witness.

"I walked up the road to see where the girls were and as I was walking back, I could see someone coming behind us with a baseball bat. JoJo jumped over a bollard and the man ran after him. He smacked him with a bat at the back of the head. I was terrified," he said.

Mikey McDonagh then told Mr Condon that the man "was bald and had glasses at the time."

When the witness was asked how the man hit him Mr McDonagh said: "He raised the bat with his right hand. JoJo was running. He was facing away from the man and had his back turned."

The court heard when JoJo was hit he fell to the ground.

In cross examination Mikey McDonagh told defence counsel Mr Colm O'Briain SC that JoJo Dunne only hit the van once "with his fist" which made "a noise."

"He was walking away from the van and we saw a man coming out of a house and he started running," said the witness.

Later the witness agreed with counsel that the deceased had struck the van more than once.

"Mr Dunne then a number of seconds later runs down the road pursued by Mr Almasi?" asked Mr O'Briain which Mikey McDonagh agreed with.

Prosecution counsel Bernard Condon then called Gavin Breen to give evidence.

The 21-year-old from Kildare town told the court that he was in the company of JoJo Dunne who was his "second or third cousin" as well as Mikey McDonagh on the night.

The court heard JoJo was in "bad humour" and as they were walking down past the harbour the deceased was "all psyched up" and "hit the van a box."

"We turned around and JoJo ran in front of us and there was a man chasing him with a baseball bat. I saw him striking JoJo with the baseball bat at the side of the head. He raised his bat when he was chasing him," said Gavin Breen.

Gavin Breen told counsel that he let out a roar at the man who hit his cousin "at the side of his face".

This man then "chased" Gavin Breen around a jeep before "he ran back down towards his house."

The witness described the man who struck his cousin "once" as "bald, wearing a tracksuit and stocky."

The prosecution also called a teenage girl from Naas to give evidence.

She told the court that on the night she saw an "angry" man who "just started running after JoJo."

"The man hit him really hard with a bat on the head. The right side of JoJo's face was very swollen and he just went flat on the ground. I only saw him hit him (JoJo) once," she said

The trial continues.

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