A LIMERICK man who, with two others, was involved in an alcohol-fuelled attack that resulted in their victim choking to death on his own blood, was yesterday jailed for seven years.
Tony O’Brien, 27, of Craeval Park Moyross had originally pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Keith Ryan, 20, at Limerick Circuit Court. Last Tuesday, on the eighth day of his trial, he changed his plea to guilty.
O’Brien was found guilty four years ago on the same charge, but a retrial was ordered by the appeal court.
Another man has already been jailed for seven years on the same charge.
A third man involved in the attack was not charged due to lack of evidence.
The court heard that the accused, along with others including the deceased, had been drinking near Shannon Bridge in the centre on the night of May 25, 2006, when an unprovoked attack was carried out on Keith Ryan from Farranshone.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, found that he had been stamped on, kicked and punched.
He choked on inhaled blood from facial injuries. She also found that stamping had damaged his liver. He died rapidly and there was no sign of a struggle.
O’Brien and the two others involved in the assault had gone to a house in another part of the city where they had their runners and socks washed.
The partner of O’Brien’s mother refused a request from him for help to go to England after the attack.
Det Garda Enda Hough said O’Brien admitted his involvement in the assault when questioned by gardaí.
He said they could not prove that O’Brien was involved in kicking Mr Ryan and he agreed with Brendan Nix, SC, for the defence that O’Brien’s role in what was described as a ‘savage assault’ was lesser than the two others.
Geraldine Ryan, sister of Keith Ryan, said in a victim impact statement that Keith’s battered and disfigured face was something that would haunt his family forever.
Judge Carroll Moan said Keith Ryan needlessly lost his life in a gratuitous savage assault.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved