THE family of a Ballinacurra Weston man who died after he was assaulted by his son during a drink-fuelled row say he didn’t deserve to die the way he did.
Forty eight-year-old Joseph ‘Joey’ O’Donnell from Hyde Road died in hospital a number of hours after he was assaulted at his home on October 1, 2010.
Last month, Gerard McNamara, aged 24, of Cedar Court, Kennedy Park pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his father.
During a sentencing hearing on Monday, Patrick McCarthy SC, prosecuting, said the deceased man, his partner and his son had been drinking together at Mr O’Donnell’s home for several hours before a fight broke out.
He said both men were “steamed drunk” and that at one stage during the day Mr McNamara had bought a “slab of beer” at Fine Wines, Parnell Street having already consumed eight cans.
The Central Criminal Court was told both men were estranged and that at one point during the row Mr O’Donnell suggested he would require a paternity test to prove McNamara was his son.
He also joked that he loved him and attempted to hug him.
Mr McCarthy said the defendant “snapped” when Mr O’Donnell made disparaging remarks about his mother and suggested his (McNamara’s) Grandfather had been abusive towards him when he was a child.
The court was told that McNamara then knocked his father to the ground and that he was throwing “anything he could get his hands on” at his father including a beer can and pieces of furniture.
Mr O’Donnell’s partner, Jean Coleman, told gardai that McNamara also kicked his father during the assault which lasted for over 20 minutes.
Gardai called to Mr O’Donnell’s home at around 3.30am after complaints were received from neighbours about a disturbance.
Mr McCarthy said the officers observed that Joseph O’Donnell has sustained facial injuries and that there was swelling under his left eye. “He declined medical treatment saying it was fine and that it was a family dispute,” said Mr McCarthy.
Mr Justice Paul Carney was told the deceased man went to bed after the gardai left and that his partner could not wake him at around 11am the following morning.
He died later that day at the intensive care unit of the Mid Western Regional Hospital.
In a victim impact statement, Anthony O’Donnell – Joseph O’Donnell’s older bother – said the death of his brother was a “great shock” to everyone who knew him.
He said his brother was “normal and inoffensive” and that he did not deserve to die the way he did.
“The loss of Joey has been a great strain on all our family and there isn’t a day that goes by that somebody doesn’t speak fondly about him,” he said.
Anthony Sammon SC, for Gerard McNamara, said his client was devastated and deeply remorseful and he said he will have to live with the consequences of what he did for the rest of his life.
Det Garda Pat Whelan, Roxboro, agreed that McNamara, who has 16 previous convictions, had co-operated fully with the garda investigation and that the incident had been “fuelled by drink”.
Mr Justice Carney will impose sentence next Monday, July 23.
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