A man was jailed for life today for the murder of a five foot two inch “frail and shy” user of the services of the Simon Community who suffered a gruesome death after he was thrown down a 40ft rubbish chute at an apartment complex in Cork city.
The family of Liam Manley who died on May 12, 2013, after he was firstly assaulted and then dumped down a chute at the Garden City Apartments in North Main Street, Cork, said that they were serving their own life sentence in "living with the nightmare" of what had happened to their beloved brother.
Speaking outside the court Kathleen (Kay) Murphy, a sister of the deceased, said she felt “elated” at the verdict.
She said their sense of relief was very strong as this was the second time the case had been before the courts with the first guilty verdict being overturned on appeal leading to a retrial.
“Justice has been done. There is a God there after all. We went through the whole thing and there was ups and downs with it but we got a good answer and I am very grateful to the judge, jury and the Gardaí.
"You are going through it negatively thinking you are going to get the same answer but you have to think positive. We are so pleased his (Liam's) character has been restored.”
Kay said Liam (aged 59) was the “quietest man on earth” and “hardly communicated with anybody.”
In a victim impact statement read out to the court the relatives of the deceased said they were very hurt by the totally false accusations about paedophilia that were made against Liam by Mr O'Loughlin.
“It was upsetting that Liam’s character was maliciously taken from him. His good name was tarnished by unfounded accusations. There has been no remorse shown for this vicious crime, only a callous disregard for his life and his dignity.”
The family said Liam didn’t deserve to have his life taken in such a malicious and cruel way.
“He didn’t deserve to be put in a rubbish chute four flights up. We wake at night thinking about his last thoughts. He was waiting to die so alone and isolated from the world because of the evil act of one person. We will have to live with this nightmare for the rest of our lives.
"To die in such horrific and frightening circumstances should be something no one should have to endure.”
The family said that Liam was a passionate Liverpool FC supporter. They stated he was a “kind, caring man who loved life.”
“He was much loved by his family members and friends. As a younger man he loved to take leisurely walks in the Lee Fields. He also enjoyed swimming, and in keeping with the strong family GAA tradition, he loved hurling and football. “
A unanimous guilty verdict in the two-week case was returned by the jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork after two hours and 10 minutes of deliberations.
Mr O’Loughlin (aged 32) had admitted placing Mr Manley in the chute. However, he had denied that this constituted murder. Mr O’Loughlin did not give evidence during the course of the trial. However, in his closing submissions, Michael O’Higgins Senior Counsel for the defence, said that whilst what his client did was “morally repugnant” the accused was of the belief that Mr Manley would pass through the chute and land in the bin at the bottom.
In her summary of the case to the seven women and five men of the jury, Justice Tara Burns said the onus was on them to look at the evidence “forensically” and in a “cold and clinical manner.” After the verdict was returned she commended them for their diligent service.
In imposing the mandatory life sentence in the case Justice Burns said what Mr O’Loughlin did to Liam Manley was “beyond shocking”. She stated he had assaulted a defenceless and frail man for no apparent reason and had made him endure a horrific death in what could only be characterised as the “stuff of nightmares”.
She said she imposed the mandatory life sentence in the case “without hesitation”, adding that she hoped Mr O’Loughlin would spend his prison sentence reflecting on what he had inflicted on Mr Manley.
The trial had heard that Mr Manley died from mechanical asphyxia about being thrown down the chute. Mr Manley, who was a native of Gurranabraher in Cork was not known to the accused until the day of the murder. Gardaí emphasised that the accusations that Mr O'Loughlin made against Mr Manley were completely false and that he was of an unblemished character.
Mr Manley had an alcohol problem and the court was told that he had “fallen on hard times.” He used to help out at the Simon Community but eventually became a service user himself.
The trial heard that Mr Manley returned to Mr O’Loughlin’s apartment in Garden City North Main Street in the early hours of May 12, 2013.
They were later joined by David O’Mahony an acquaintance of Mr O’Loughlin’s. Mr O’Loughlin began verbally abusing Mr Manley and made completely false statements that he was a paedophile.
Mr O’Loughlin dragged Mr Manley out of the apartment and opened the rubbish chute placing him inside. Mr O’Mahony said in evidence that O’Loughlin told he had put the man “down the drain.” He didn’t take his claim seriously. A postmortem indicated that Liam Manley died of mechanical asphyxia after becoming wedged in the chute.
A maintenance worker Michael Forde tried to unblock the chute a day after the murder took place as they had received complaints it wasn’t functional. He used steel rods to unblock the chute and the remains of the deceased were found at this juncture.
Mr O’Loughlin showed no emotion when the mandatory life sentence was passed down. Mr O’Loughlin’s sentence was backdated to when he entered custody.
Mr O’Loughlin is a native of Shannon, Co. Clare. However, he was living in the North Main Street apartments in Cork when the murder occurred. He has over 50 previous convictions for assault, public order and road traffic offences.