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I'll always regret that one punch, says man who killed journalist

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Gary Burch

Gary Burch

Gary Burch

A MAN who killed journalist Eugene Moloney by punching him in the head has written a letter to his family.

Gary Burch said he wanted to offer his "sincere apology" to the Moloney family as he pleaded guilty yesterday at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of Mr Moloney (57) on June 24, 2012.

Burch (22) of Kennington Close, Templeogue, wrote: "I will always regret the outcome of that one punch."

He added: "I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I am a responsible person and I loved my time in the Reserve Defence Force. It made a man of me."

Senseless

The court was shown CCTV footage of the incident.

Mr Moloney was a reporter who worked for the Herald and Irish Independent at various times during his career.

His brother Sean told the court that his death was "senseless and unnecessary".

When Eugene left his Portobello home that night, he left his music and the lamps on.

"It befell me to switch off his music a day later. It was like blowing out the candle of his life," Sean Moloney said.

"He was a large man, both physically and in lifestyle.

"His friendships straddled the world – Russia, Mexico, Spain, the Phillipines and Vietnam, not to mention the length and breadth of Ireland," he said.

"He even played football for the Viet Celts in the South Asian Games tournament, and a Most Valued Player annual award in his name has been commissioned by his friends in Vietnam – among them his beloved girlfriend of many years, Chi," Sean Moloney said.

But he was taken from them suddenly, violently, with no chance to say goodbye, he said. "He will not be back. He will be a legend in name only to his nieces and nephews."

Mr Moloney added: "Has the perpetrator of this cruel and senseless act anything of any similar value to contribute to society? Or will he ever? I do not think so."

Burch told gardai in a series of interviews after he was arrested that it was a moment of craziness and he was disgusted by what he had done.

He did not know the victim because he was "drunk and stupid" and did not realise how serious the attack had been.

shouting

The court heard he had drunk 10 bottles of beer and had a couple of shots of spirits on the night Mr Moloney was killed.

The journalist was on his way home from a stag party when he was punched in the neck in Camden Street between 4am and 4.10am.

Eugene's sister, Roisin, also spoke of the pain and loss at his death and said she had to tell her three children, who were all abroad at the time of his death.

Detective Inspector Sean Campbell, who investigated the killing, said an eyewitness told gardai that Burch threw his arms out to the side after punching the journalist and he heard him say, "Boom!"

Another witness said Burch was "mouthing off" and shouting at people earlier.

The court heard that Mr Moloney was pronounced dead in hospital within an hour of the incident.

Det Insp Campbell said Burch had been a member of a boxing club for a month when he was a teenager.

He told counsel for Burch that it was unusual to see a person dying from one punch.

A number testimonials were handed into court on behalf of Burch, a trainee mechanic, including from a retired garda detective and a school principal.

The managing director of a car company said in evidence he would take Burch back after the courts have dealt with him.

Burch wanted to be put in custody, his counsel said.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said she wanted to consider the victim impact statements and the testimonials before sentencing.

She remanded Burch in custody until July 2.

hnews@herald.ie


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