GREYSTONES MAN ADMITS KILLING HIS BEST FRIEND WITH ROCK
A NORTH WICKLOW man has admitted killing his best friend with a rock more than four years ago.
The 29-year-old made the admission through his barrister yesterday (Tuesday) on the first day of his murder trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Thomas O’Connor of Burnaby Court, Greystones, is charged with murdering 22-year-old John O’Brien, who was from Burnaby Lawns in Greystones on June 4, 2010.
He was arraigned before the court on Monday and pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr O’Brien, but guilty to his manslaughter at Farrankelly Road, Delgany, Co Wicklow.
The State did not accept his plea and a jury was sworn in to hear the trial.
Denis Vaughan Buckley SC opened the case for the State yesterday. He said that the accused and deceased had been drinking that evening in the underground carpark of a supermarket in Greystones. He said the deceased had struck two younger men during the evening and was restrained by the accused.
He said that the accused and deceased separated around 11.45 p.m., having disagreed about what to do.
He said there would be evidence of the accused doing a uturn and shouting and cursing. He said another witness saw a man wearing a grey hoodie standing over a man lying on the ground and striking him repeatedly.
The barrister said there would be evidence that John O’Brien was badly injured, bleeding profusely and that his head was deformed afterwards. The pathologist would say he died as a result of a catastrophic head injury, he said.
Mr Vaughan Buckley said that the accused man’s former girlfriend would be an important witness.
She would testify that Mr O’Connor came to her house that night with his palms covered in blood and that he washed them with bleach and a pot scrubber. She would say that he told her he had been jumped by someone with a knife, who wanted his phone.
Fergal Kavanagh SC, defending Thomas O’Connor, then stood to make a number of admissions on behalf of his client.
‘ This is a case where he’s accused of having murdered his best friend. He’s pleaded guilty to manslaughter,’ he said.
‘ Thomas O’Connor admits that the deceased died from blunt force injuries to the head, that those injuries were inflicted by a person holding a rock and that the person inflicting the injuries was Thomas O’Connor,’ he said.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury of six women and six men.