Wednesday 16 January 2019

Watch: Police release shocking footage of man killed by single punch

Desmond O’Beirne (51), who has Irish roots, was attacked in Trafalgar Square

Maya Oppenheim

Police have released footage of the moment a 51-year-old man was fatally attacked in Trafalgar Square in a plea for witnesses to come forward.

Desmond O’Beirne, 51, was attacked in the area outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square by two men at around 12.25am on Saturday 3 June 2017.

Met Police confirmed that Mr O’Beirne, who was from Westminster but is of Irish descent, was approached by two men who assaulted him before calmly walking away.

The footage shows a man hitting him on the back of the head before a second man kicks him as he lies seemingly unconscious on the pavement.

London Ambulance Service treated him at the scene before taking him to hospital, but he died from his injuries on 20 December.

A post-mortem examination which took place at Westminster Mortuary in January said the cause of death was a head injury.

The Londoner, who was out having a drink, is said to have endured a “traumatic brain injury” and left in a vegetative state.

Desmond’s sister, Vivienne Folan, said: "My brother Desmond was hard working and larger than life. He was on a night out in Trafalgar Square when he was brutally and viciously attacked by two cowards who then calmly walked away and left him for dead.

“As a direct result of this attack he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was left in a vegetative state. Desmond's life was ended far too soon and our family is left devastated by his loss.”

Mr O’Beirne’s death in hospital - six months after the assault took place – sparked a murder inquiry. A serious crime reward of £20,000 is available to anyone providing vital information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, investigating, said: “Someone might see this video and remember that they witnessed this incident; you will see a female who is clearly shocked by what has happened and holds her hands up to her face.

“You may have been part of the group and did not realise how seriously Desmond was hurt and that he has now died. That may pray on your mind. You can contact us and help us get justice. Desmond was an inoffensive man, a big man and character, who was out having a drink. The CCTV shows that he was senselessly attacked and he never stood a chance.

“The events of Desmond's attack precede the London Bridge Terrorists attacks which were in the following evening. So whilst there is a passage of time, people will remember where they were in London, and could remember this incident. I’m asking anyone who took any footage or selfies around that time in to contact us; take a look through your photos and see if you have something that can help us.”

Ms Folan, his sister, said his attack took place just before the London Bridge attacks and that as witnesses may have been distracted from coming forwards.

“Unfortunately for Desmond, his attack happened less than 24 hours before the London Bridge/Borough Market terrorist attacks and I feel that possible witnesses may have focused their attentions on those events,” she said.

“I am appealing to members of the public who may have been in the Trafalgar Square area on the night and witnessed this assault to come forward to the police.

“I am trying to get justice for Desmond, his two attackers were very distinctive and part of a larger group. I hope that witnesses and those from that group who did not know how serious the attack was will now come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099. To give information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit You can also tweet information via @MetCC.

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