Witness tells how Dublin murder accused kicked victim in head

An eyewitness has told a murder trial that he saw the accused throw the victim out of a shop onto the pavement before kicking him at least six times in the head and back.

John Nerney was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court in the trial of an internet and call shop owner, charged with murdering a customer over a 70-cent debt.

Zhen Dong Zhao (aged 36), a Chinese man with an address at Jervis Street in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Finglas man Noel Fegan on May 20, 2011.

The alleged attack took place outside e-Times on Dublin’s Wellington Quay. Mr Fegan (aged 40), who had been living on Aughrim Street, had gone into the shop to phone his daughter from whom he had received a ‘Call Me’ text.

Mr Nerney testified that he was waiting for a bus outside the internet café around 4pm that day.

“The accused threw the victim out of the shop and the victim fell on the ground,” he said, describing the victim as having a homeless appearance. “He kicked him a few times in the back and head.”

He said the victim was on all fours and trying to crawl away when the accused paused.

“I thought he’d stopped, but he kicked him fairly firmly in the skull,” he continued, comparing its force with that of a long-distance kick in football.

Mr Nerney said the victim then vomited and did not seem to recover after that.

He said the accused didn’t seem overly enraged while he was kicking the victim and gave him the two-fingered gesture afterwards.

Under cross examination by Brendan Grehan SC, defending, Mr Nerney agreed that the first thing he noticed was someone landing on the ground. He did not see the accused throw the victim out of the shop, but assumed he had.

“I got the impression he was forcefully removed from the shop,” he said.

Mr Grehan put it to him that he had seen more kicks than other witnesses, but Mr Nerney said the minimum he had seen was six, with a couple to the back, a couple to the head and the final one to the skull.

Mr Grehan also suggested that the accused had made the two-fingered gesture at the victim’s friend, but Mr Nerney said he got the impression that it was directed at the victim.

The trial has already heard that Mr Zhao accepts that he kicked the deceased after Mr Fegan failed to pay him 70 cent he owed him for a phone call.

It is the prosecution case that Mr Fegan died of bleeding to the brain caused by Mr Zhao kicking him in the head.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.

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