Jury hears man ‘flew into rage over remarks’

One of two men accused of causing serious harm to a relative, allegedly “flew into a rage” after upsetting things were said about their parents, a jury was told yesterday.

The Co Kerry brothers are charged over an alleged incident in which an uncle sustained life-threatening injuries at his own home.

The Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee, Co Kerry, also heard how a fourth man, at the home of victim Gerald Fitzgerald on the occasion, called on the brothers to leave and said their uncle was dead after a row.

Tralee pair Tommy Kelly, aged 34, of Marian Park and Robert Kelly, aged 32, of Ogham Rian Estate have pleaded not guilty to causing serious harm to Mr Fitzgerald, at 38, Mitchels Rd on November 8, 2011.

Mr Fitzgerald had suffered brain injury, had a sharp object forcibly inserted into his back passage and was left in a bloodied state.

He had been discovered unconscious at the back door of his blood-spattered home around 8pm, his jeans had been pulled down and the prosecution’s case was the brothers acted together.

RELATED: Court hears that accused told uncle, ‘I’m after having it’ with injured party

In a garda interview on January 25, 2013, Robert Kelly said they returned to Mr Fitzgerald’s house with alcoholic drinks on the late afternoon of November 8, 2011. Terence McCormack, known as ‘Hocker’, was also in the house.

Robert Kelly said he was in the sitting room when he heard a commotion in the kitchen and saw his brother and uncle hitting each other.

He also saw the uncle on the ground and Tommy hitting him a “few digs”.

Tommy Kelly dragged him out and then “it all broke loose”, the jury heard.

The brothers were allegedly kicking and punching their uncle.

Robert Kelly also said he hit his uncle with a child’s scooter and two or three times with a brush handle.

The fight went on for 10 to 15 minutes and Gerald had blood all over his face. He claimed ‘Hocker’ said: “Come on, come on, he’s dead” and they left.

Robert Kelly, who in earlier interviews with gardaí said he had consumed eight pints and could not remember what had happened in the house that evening.

He denied inserting a tennis racquet into Mr Fitzgerald’s back passage, and did not see anyone doing it.

He also said in earlier interviews he did not go back into the house to check on his uncle because ‘‘I was out of it’’.

He said he was out of his mind and was normally never in trouble, only when he had drink taken.

He also said he was very sorry and remorseful about what happened. It all started, he had alleged, when his uncle kept mentioning things about his parents and he flew into a rage.

“We were all drunk,” he allegedly told gardaí.

Bloodstained clothing found in the home of Robert Kelly was shown to the jury.

Gardaí discovered clothes being burned in a fire in Robert Kelly’s home soon after the assault, but he denied burning clothes.

Asked about a broken ashtray, Robert Kelly said he recognised it from his uncle’s home, but did not hit his uncle over the head with it. “Why would I do that? He was like an older brother to me,” he had told gardaí.

The trial continues.

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