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Man killed by car, not punch, after pub brawl

A post-mortem examination has established that a man found lying on the ground outside a county Wicklow pub died from injuries sustained when he was struck by a vehicle.

Victim Brian 'Brier' Doyle (48) had earlier been punched in the face outside Fitzgerald's Pub at Main Street, Avoca, on Sunday night after he and another customer had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette.

The two men had been involved in a heated argument over the Premiership game between Liverpool and Everton, which had been televised earlier in the day.

During the argument it is believed that one punch was thrown and Mr Doyle fell on to the ground.

Initially, it was thought that he might have sustained the fatal injury when he hit the ground but a post-mortem examination, carried out by the deputy state pathologist, Dr Khalid Jabbar, has determined that he was killed when he was struck by a vehicle as he lay on the roadside.

Gardai are satisfied that the incident involving the vehicle was accidental and that the driver was not aware that the man had been lying on the ground.


Officers are following a definite line of inquiry in relation to the assault and expect an early breakthrough in their investigation.

Mr Doyle, who was single, lived in Kilmagig, a short distance from the pub, which was well known to TV viewers from the BBC series 'Ballykissangel'.

Garda Supt Pat Ward, who is heading the investigation, said the incident was "a tragedy for Avoca and for the people in it".

Officers have traced most of the people who were in the pub during the night, but have issued an appeal to others, who might have been there between 3pm and 9pm on Sunday or who had driven through the scenic village around the time of the incident, to contact them at either Avoca or Arklow stations, or on the confidential line, 1800 666111.

Garda technical bureau experts examined the scene and carried out tests on the wheel of a vehicle that was parked on the roadside a short distance from the pub.

Mr Doyle was a regular customer in the pub and usually walked home afterwards. He had been drinking there with friends on Sunday and was described by locals as "harmless".

Emergency services personnel attempted to resuscitate him as he lay outside the pub but he was pronounced dead at around 9.45pm.

The pub is popular with tourists and busloads regularly stop there to take a look at the premises made famous by the TV series.

Irish Independent