The victim was slumped on the ground at St Patrick’s Quay when a homeless woman came to his assistance, phoned for an ambulance, and handed her phone to him to make that comment to the operator.
Those last words of 36-year-old Keith Flanagan were recalled as his friend, Ciarán Moran, aged 28, of no fixed address and originally from Shankill, Dublin, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with the last two suspended for manslaughter in October 2013.
Margot Bolster, the assistant state pathologist, said the death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, possibly as a result of a fall, also noting advanced liver disease.
Through the assistance of the accused, extensive examination of CCTV throughout Cork City and in Cobh on the day of October 3, 2013, and statements from 80 witnesses, gardaí were able to piece together the ill-fated day.
They came down from Dublin by train that morning for a day out drinking and enjoying themselves and were seen coming and going from various off-licences and chip shops.
“They appeared to be in high spirits starting out and they were seen going to Cobh and coming back from Cobh,” Detective Sergeant Vincent O’Sullivan said.
“By 9pm at Kent station, Ciarán Moran was exceptionally drunk and Keith Flanagan was drunk but more steady on his feet. There was no aggro between the two men.
“What happened then was they were advised that a bus was leaving from Patrick’s Quay. They did not accept their free travel passes on the bus and they were seen arguing outside the bus.
“Both men are drunk. They just go out of shot [on the CCTV] to Patrick’s Quay. An eyewitness walking past saw two men grappling each other and fighting. He rang 999 to say some men were grappling.”
The witness saw the bigger man on top of the smaller man and one of them saying: “I will throw you in the fucking water.”
After the emergency call made by the homeless woman who came to the assistance of Mr Flanagan, he was taken to hospital and put on life support.
His brother, Paul Flanagan, said in a victim impact report read yesterday by his stepfather, that when notified by gardaí that something had happened to his brother, he drove to Cork — “the longest four-hour drive I have had to make”.
He then described the agony of having to tell his mother, Theresa, that Keith was on life-support in hospital and that they would have to give permission to turn off the machine.
Patrick Gageby, defending, said: “My client unreservedly apologises and accepts complete and utter responsibility for what has happened. I ask the court to take into consideration that he is comparatively young. He has enormous problems himself especially in relation to drink.”