A 34-year-old man throttled his elderly friend to death in retaliation for being hit with a walking stick, a court heard today.
Thomas O’Reilly had known Ben Carolan, a 58-year-old man in Dublin for more than 12 years and visited him so often at his flat in Dublin that neighbours believed they were father and son.
At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Detective Sergeant Gerard McDonnell said it was a very tragic case for O’Reilly.
“He cried on a number of occasions (while giving statements) and he did say he was sorry on a number of occasions,” he said.
O’Reilly has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the elderly disabled man at his flat in St George’s Place in Dublin’s north inner city on April 21 last year.
The court heard that the two men were drinking cans of beer together when Carolan started hitting O’Reilly on the back with his black walking stick.
The court heard that O’Reilly said: “Ben, don’t hit me again” and then put his hands around the elderly man’s neck.
“I pushed him back. He was back on the armchair as if he was asleep.”
The court heard that Carolan had suffered from a number of health problems, including a heart condition and pancreatis. O’Reilly used to help bathe him and clothe him.
O’Reilly, with an address at Mountjoy Street in Dublin 7, said he watched a programme about the Pope on Sky News and went to sleep.
When he woke up the next morning and saw Carolan still sitting on the armchair, he said: “I can’t believe it. I killed him last night.”
A post mortem by the assistant state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found that Carolan had died as a result of manual strangulation, which he described as throttling. He said that death had occurred rapidly due to the severe coronary condition which Carolan suffered from.
The court heard that O’Reilly confessed what he had done to his girlfriend Rachel Lacken, who then helped gardaí to track him down in Gorey, County Wexford.
Detective Sergeant McDonnell said that O’Reilly had spoken of how he was woken up four years earlier to find his pants down and Carolan fondling him.
But he told gardaí he had forgiven Carolan for this.
Judge Desmond Hogan deferred sentencing until May 12.