Man danced around victim in ‘triumphant gesture’

A man danced around the motionless body of a 25-year-old he had just assaulted and raised his arms aloft in a “triumphant gesture,” a court heard yesterday.

Jason Morrissey, aged 23, from Toomevara in Co Tipperary, was sent to prison for a total of 18 years after he admitted the manslaughter of James Tynan, 25, in an unprovoked attack in Thurles in the early hours of Feb 19 last year.

He pleaded guilty to three other, unconnected, assaults causing harm on three victims which occurred on separate dates in Thurles during a five-day period in Feb 2012.

After hearing a victim impact statement from James’s mother, Dolores Tynan, Judge Thomas Teehan described it as “one of the most affecting” of such statements he had ever heard.

“We will never forget the phonecall from Clonmel hospital to tell us that our son was gravely ill and to get there as quickly as possible — the nightmare drive — to see him lying there attached to machines — the life gone out of him. Our lovely boy just lying there and he looked beautiful,” Mrs Tynan said in the family’s statement which was read out at Nenagh Circuit Court.

James died in hospital on the evening of Feb 20, 2012, having been brought there by ambulance after he was punched in the head.

His life wasn’t in vain, his mother said, as he had wanted to be an organ donor and when he died, “he gave life to six people”.

Detective sergeant James White told the court that James Tynan arrived in Thurles, from his hometown of Johnstown in Co Kilkenny, with friends on the night of Feb 18.

At about 1.25am, he was standing outside a hotel where he had attended a nightclub.

Jason Morrissey walked up, spoke to a security guard and then walked back and ran towards James, who took two steps back when he saw Jason Morrissey approach. The two men didn’t know each other.

“Jason Morrissey then ran at James Tynan and, with a clenched fist, struck him in the face in a totally unprovoked manner, causing James Tynan to fall to the ground,” the sergeant said.

James’s head struck the ground and he lay there, motionless.

“Jason Morrissey then, in some sort of triumphant gesture, stood beside James Tynan on the ground and, with two clenched fists, raised his arms aloft. He did a small semi-circular dance and raised his hands again above his head,” det sgt White told the court.

Judge Teehan sentenced Morrissey to 14 years for manslaughter, three years for an unrelated assault, and two sentences of two years each for two further assaults. There was also a concurrent sentence of two years for a theft charge. The judge suspended the last three years of the total of 21 years.

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