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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Man died from brain injury after brawling with cousin

Ralph Riegel

A GOOD samaritan died from a brain injury two weeks after he tried to separate two brothers engaged in a drunken street fight, an inquest heard yesterday.

Denis Nolan (26) had "a heart of gold" and had only been trying to do "the honest thing" by breaking up the street fight two years ago, the inquest was told.

However, Mr Nolan ended up involved in a row with his own cousin, Sean Crowley (24), who warned him he should not have gotten involved in the dispute between brothers, Johnny and Tommy Irwin, on the main street of Glanworth village.

In two separate confrontations on October 26, 2008, Sean Crowley admitted punching Denis Nolan three times in the face -- with Mr Nolan twice falling "onto his backside" after being punched.

Mr Nolan -- a truck driver -- died on November 9, 2008, after being hospitalised on October 29. The inquest heard he suffered a leaking artery which led to a catastrophic build-up of blood on his brain.

Mr Crowley insisted yesterday that he only acted in self-defence that night.

Cork Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane opened the inquest after being informed by Inspector Senan Ryan that gardai had submitted a detailed file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP ruled that no prosecution should take place.

Mr Crowley claimed he was standing near a chip van on the main street of the village when brothers Johnny and Tommy Irwin got involved in a fight.

As the two brothers punched each other and then fell to the ground, Denis Nolan ran over to separate them.

Sean Crowley said when he went over to intervene, Denis Nolan struck out at him.

"I hit him straight back in the jaw with my fist. (I said): 'There is no call for this -- we are all related.' But he (Denis) got involved with two brothers when he should not have," he said.

Mr Crowley said he then left the village -- and only returned when his cousin rang him on his mobile phone and asked that he come back so they could sort out their differences.

When Mr Crowley drove back, he claimed that Denis Nolan immediately tried to attack him again.

"I hit Denis Nolan with my fist in the face. I connected with his teeth -- he fell back on his arse," Mr Crowley said.

Barry Quinlan, Denis Nolan's best friend, was shocked by the condition his friend was in with a black-eye, a swollen nose, cut lips and blood seeping from his nostrils.

The following day, Denis Nolan rang Barry Quinlan and told him he didn't feel well.

"He said he had a bad headache. He said he felt there was something loose in his head. I knew there was something wrong so I told him to get to a hospital straight away," he added.

Mr Nolan later told a workmate that he thought he heard "a dripping sound" inside his head.

He died in Cork University Hospital on November 9 and all his organs were donated for transplant by his family.

The inquest jury returned a narrative verdict that Mr Nolan died in accordance with the medical evidence.

Irish Independent

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