The death of a Dundalk man 10 days after suffering a traumatic brain injury after a single blow that caused him to fall backwards and bang his head off a footpath was unlawful homicide, the inquest has found.
The Ublin Borough Coroner’s Court heard that Jason Kearney, 49, a father of four from Ashling Park, Cox’s Demesne, Dundalk, Co Louth, suffered a blow to the head on Seville Row in the early hours of September 2, 2020 had suffered Dublin’s northern inner city.
A jury of nine women returned a unanimous verdict of wrongful death in relation to Mr. Kearney.
He died on September 12, 2020 at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin.
Detective Sergeant Shane Noonan told the inquest that one person had been charged in connection with Mr Kearney’s death and had pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.
Ian Moore, 31, an electrician and father of two, was sentenced in March by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two years in prison for the offence.
Det Sgt Noonan said the person who called the emergency services has been tracked down.
He said Moore, who was not named during the investigation, subsequently asked Gardaí to visit his home and outlined events that took place there and ended at Seville Place.
He said Moore admitted hitting the victim with just one punch, causing him to fall backwards and bang his head off the footpath.
Det Sgt Noonan said there were no eyewitnesses to the attack and surveillance cameras in the area did not capture the incident.
He said CCTV footage from Moore’s own home confirmed what he had told Gardaí.
Det Sgt Noonan also told coroner Clare Keane that Moore has not appealed his conviction or sentence.
During a hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last March, evidence was heard that Moore had told Gardaí that the deceased had broken into his home in the early hours of the morning after opening his front door after going downstairs, to study a noise.
There was an argument between the two men before Mr. Kearney was pushed off the property.
Moore said his pregnant partner then mistakenly believed Mr. Kearney took her bag and he followed him in his car to get it back.
The court heard Mr Kearney tell Moore that he did not have the bag at one point before the altercation at Seville Place.
During the hearing, Mr Kearney’s family said they were now serving a life sentence.
They told the court they didn’t think he posed a threat to anyone and questioned why Moore hadn’t approached Gardaí instead of taking the law into his own hands.
Judge Melanie Greally said Moore followed the deceased after he stopped posing a threat.
The judge said the act was impulsive, emotional, and ultimately violent, but not premeditated, while noting that Moore returned to the scene and contacted emergency services and attended to his victim before they arrived.
A Dublin Fire Brigade paramedic, Ciaran Barry, said an ambulance crew was called to a scene at Seville Place around 3am where they discovered a man lying on the ground with blood from his nose and mouth.
Mr Barry said the injured person appeared to be having seizures and was unable to communicate with them.
He said another man standing next to the injured man was on the phone.
Mr Barry said the man, who appeared calm, explained that he was a passerby who hit the other man on the ground.
The paramedic said he also noticed a silver car parked slightly off the curb nearby, as if “making a delivery”.
He said he saw the passer-by running towards the vehicle, which had moved when the ambulance turned around and a short time later passed the scene again on the way to Mater.
A doctor who oversaw Mr Kearney’s treatment at the hospital, Brian Marsh, said the patient was referred to doctors at Beaumont Hospital, who told him the nature of his head injury made him unsuitable for neurological surgery.
Deputy state pathologist Heidi Okkers said the results of a post-mortem showed no evidence the victim had been hit more than once.
dr Okkers said Mr Kearney suffered serious brain injuries as well as fractured skulls consistent with “an accelerated fall to the ground”.
While the deceased’s family questioned injuries to his ankles seen at the hospital, the pathologist said they had healed at the time of the autopsy.
The inquest found Mr Kearney had a moderate level of alcohol in his system, which the coroner said would have caused “some distress”.
The autopsy revealed that he died as a result of traumatic brain injury caused by an accelerated fall.
After the inquest, the victim’s sister, Lorraine Kearney, said her family is still troubled by the circumstances in which her brother died.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the investigation but not with the outcome of what happened in the criminal court,” Ms Kearney said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/one-punch-attack-that-caused-man-to-hit-his-head-off-footpath-was-unlawful-killing-inquest-finds-42149578.html A slap attack that caused the man’s head to bounce off the footpath was an unlawful death, inquests have found