A Central Criminal Court jury found John Hannigan guilty of murdering Anthony Fallon, aged 46, in Clonmel on January 18, 2012, and of assault causing harm to the 46-year-old on the same date at Mr Fallon’s flat on Abbey St. Hannigan, aged 48, of River House, New Quay, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Carney on February 28, 2014. He had pleaded not guilty.
The trial heard Hannigan had called an ambulance to River House shortly before 7am, telling the emergency services Mr Fallon had rung his doorbell and then collapsed. An autopsy found 31 separate fractures to Mr Fallon’s ribs, along with fractures to his collar and breast bones. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and trunk.
Hannigan later told gardaí that his friend’s death was on his hands. He said he had lost his temper. However, in the witness box, Hannigan said he was “just panicking” when he told gardaí that he had attacked Mr Fallon.
Counsel for Hannigan, Damien Colgan, submitted the trial judge erred in refusing to permit expert psychological evidence relating to Hannigan. Mr Colgan also said the trial judge erred in permitting memos of interview of Hannigan, given the nature of the psychological evidence available to the court.
Dismissing his appeal yesterday, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the trial judge did not disallow psychological evidence to be given or to be called. He permitted the issue to be canvassed but no expert evidence was called on Hannigan’s behalf.