Saturday 20 July 2019

Mallow man jailed for drink-fuelled killing

A young north Corkman has been jailed for five-years after he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a homeless Frenchman whom he assaulted in Cork city last year after consuming a bottle of vodka during an early morning drinking binge

Daniel O'Sullivan (22) from Carrowkeel in Mallow pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of Vincent Morgain (34) from Pontivy in Brittany at Lower Oliver Plunkett St in Cork city on September 10 last.

Speaking after sentence was handed down, Mr Morgain's sister, Marie Thomas said she hoped that O Sullivan would avail of the chance given to him by Judge Sean O Donnabhain when he suspended three years of the eight years sentenced imposed for the manslaughter of her brother.

"I am happy with the sentence - he got the sentence that he deserved and rightly so but it is not the sentence which preoccupies me most - I am just pleased that there is an order for Daniel O'Sullivan to be rehabilitated and make good of his life," said Ms Thomas through an interpreter.

"I hope that Daniel avails of the services in Cork Prison because I really want him to show real remorse for what happened and for him to get back in life and maybe help others".

Sgt David Callaghan told the court that Mr Morgain had first come to Ireland when he was 18 and had worked for 10-years as a chef at various hotels in Killarney. He had moved to Cork about a year before his death and was sleeping rough in the city at the time.

On the day in question, he was drinking with a female companion on the footpath at the back of Jury's Inn around 2pm when they were approached by O'Sullivan and two other men and one of the men grabbed a bottle which the woman was drinking. Simultaneously, O'Sullivan punched Mr Morgain into the head and he fell to the ground, striking his head off the roadway and as he struggled to get to his feet, O'Sullivan kicked him in the head, again knocking him back so his head again struck the ground.

O'Sullivan and his two companions left the area but the incident had been seen by up to ten independent witnesses and two gardai on patrol in the area, Brian Murphy and Mark Barrett, who quickly identified O'Sullivan and spoke to him.

Mr Morgain was taken to the Mercy University Hospital where he was conscious and alert but the next day, he began to lapse into unconsciousness and following a CT scan in Cork University Hospital, he was put into the Intensive Care Unit at MUH where he died on September 15.

Mr Morgain, who was staying at the Simon shelter on Anderson's Quay at the time of his death, died from traumatic brain injury following a fall with complications due to liver disease and low platelets, Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster told his inquest in February.

Sgt Callaghan said O'Sullivan was arrested on September 17 and made admissions that he struck Mr Morgain and he became quite upset during the interview, expressing deep remorse for what had happened. He later pleaded guilty at the first chance when he was charged with the killing.

O'Sullivan had become addicted to alcohol and cannabis as a teenager and fell in with the wrong crowd while attending an addiction treatment centre in Waterford and although he had 21 previous convictions, most were for non-violent crimes, he said.

He said that O'Sullivan was living rough himself on the streets at the time and on the day in question, he had been drinking from 10am, consuming a bottle of vodka before he fell in with two older companions whom he accompanied as they approached Mr Morgain and his friend.

He agreed with defence counsel, Elizabeth O'Connell SC that O'Sullivan never crossed the road with intent to harm Mr Morgain and that he hadn't realised he had caused him such serious injury as the whole assault was over in a matter of seconds.

Mr Morgain's sister, Marie Thomas and his mother, Lilliane spoke of their sense of loss over the death of their brother and son and their great regret that he had not felt able to accept their offer of help to return with them to France when he fell on hard times in Cork and began drinking.

Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said that given the frequency with which drink related assault cases were coming before Cork Circuit Criminal Court, it was almost inevitable that one would end in tragedy like this and he sympathised with the family of Mr Morgain on their loss.

"Your loss is deep, human and genuine and while Vincent Morgain had his own troubles in life, he was an entirely innocent party in this serious assault," said Judge O Donnabhain, adding that O'Sullivan's kick to the head as Mr Morgain struggled to get to his feet was an aggravating factor.

Judge O Donnabhain sentenced O'Sullivan to eight-years in jail but suspended the final three-years on condition that he work with rehabilitation services upon his release.