A man who punched, kicked, and stamped on a terminally ill and defenceless man before being stopped by onlookers from throwing him into a canal has been jailed for five years with the final year suspended.
The family of the late Frank Kavanagh, a native of Bohermore, Co Galway, clapped and cheered as his attacker, Paul McDonagh, aged 36, from 60 Innishannagh Park, Co Galway, was led away in handcuffs from Galway Circuit Criminal Court.
McDonagh had pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Kavanagh, causing him harm at Raven’s Terrace, Co Galway, on Sept 5 last year.
Sgt Paul Duane said witnesses told him they saw McDonagh punch Mr Kavanagh once in the face, knocking him to the ground. He then repeatedly kicked and stamped on Mr Kavanagh.
McDonagh then picked Mr Kavanagh up and witnesses said they thought he was going to throw him into the canal but they shouted at him that they were going to call the gardaí.
McDonagh then released his grip on Mr Kavanagh who landed, face first, on the ground.
One witness dialled 999 and followed the accused, later pointing him out to gardaí.
Mr Kavanagh spent four weeks in the intensive care unit at University Hospital Galway before he passed away on Oct 3 last year.
Conor Fahy, prosecuting, explained that Professor Marie Cassidy carried out an autopsy as it was initially treated as an unlawful killing.
Sgt Duane said Prof Cassidy concluded cause of death was bronchial pneumonia, with hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver as contributing factors. Death, she concluded, was not directly as a result of the assault.
The autopsy, the garda said, did reveal a number of fractures to Mr Kavanagh’s nose and eye area, and a large laceration to the back of his head.
Sgt Duane said Mr Kavanagh had been a very ill man with a long-term alcohol problem that had led to his illnesses.
Judge Rory McCabe said while the assault did not directly cause Mr Kavanagh’s death, it had hastened it.
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