Uncle hit with tennis racquet, gardaí told

Tommy Kelly: Court told of interviews with gardaí.

One of two brothers charged with assaulting their uncle told gardaí he hit him on the side of the head with a tennis racquet and that the other brother hit him with an ashtray during a row, a court heard.

Robert Kelly, aged 32, of Ogham Rian, Tralee, Co Kerry, and Tommy Kelly, aged 34, of Marian Park, Tralee, both deny assaulting Gerald Fitzgerald, causing him serious harm, at Mr Fitzgerald’s home, No 38, Mitchels Rd, Tralee, on November 8, 2011.

A jury at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee was told yesterday of four interviews Tommy Kelly had with Tralee gardaí after the alleged incident and of a voluntary statement he made to gardaí in Killarney on November 18, 2011.

In the first interview on November 9, Tommy Kelly said he had consumed eight pints while drinking with his brother and their uncle in the Grand Hotel, Tralee, before they went back to their uncle’s house, where they drank cans of stout.

Their uncle started saying to them that their parents were no good and they told him he was not good. Tommy Kelly then said he got a box to the head from his uncle, who also tried to grab him by the leg.

He said he kicked out at his uncle, that they each gave a few punches, but he did not hit him with any implement and “that was the long and the short of it”.

Tommy Kelly said he did not hit his uncle with a tennis racquet, but the racquet broke when his uncle went to hit him with it. He also told gardaí he did not see his brother Robert hitting their uncle with an ashtray.

Asked by gardaí to account for Mr Fitzgerald’s serious head injuries from which he could have died if a taxi-driver had not come along, Tommy Kelly told the interviewing gardaí that Mr Fitzgerald could have “hopped” his head off something.

He also said he could have suffered injuries while falling down the stairs at home.

In a subsequent interview, however, Tommy Kelly said he hit Mr Fitzgerald with the racquet on the side of the head, while Robert hit him with the ashtray. He also said he had drunk roughly 12 pints that evening.

Both accused have denied inserting a tennis racquet into Mr Fitzgerald’s rectum.

In his voluntary statement to gardaí in Killarney, Tommy Kelly said they were arguing in the house and he saw Robert Kelly going for Mr Fitzgerald with an ashtray. Mr Fitzgerald then went to hit Robert with the tennis racquet but hit Tommy Kelly instead.

The trial continues before Judge Eugene O’Kelly and a jury.

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