A man has been convicted of killing an acquaintance by knocking him under a Dublin Bus in Dublin city centre a year and a half ago.
The jury found Edward Connors, 30, guilty following four and a half hours of deliberation and an eight day trial.
Eoghan Dudley, 28, died almost instantly from “catastrophic and traumatic injuries” after going under the left rear wheel of the bus on Dawson Street during rush hour traffic. Both men were heroin users at the time and both had the drug in their system after the death.
Connors, who is deaf mute, admitted interacting with the deceased but claims that what looks like a punch on CCTV footage is actually him trying to grab Mr Dudley to stop him falling off the path and going under the bus.
Connors of no fixed abode and formerly of Bearna Park, Sandyford, had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawfully killing Dudley on December 6, 2012.
Judge Patrick McCartan remanded Connors in continuing custody until his sentence date on June 4. The court will hear from Mr Dudley’s family about the effect of the killing on them.
The judge thanked the jury for its time and effort “in what everyone agrees was a tragic case.”
Seven eyewitnesses gave evidence that they saw Connors punch Mr Dudley immediately before he fell off the crowded footpath. The jury also viewed a large amount of CCTV footage, including of the moments the victim went under the bus.
Connors’ friend at the time, Mark Moore, gave evidence that he saw the two men arguing before Connors punched Mr Dudley in the face with a closed fist.
“He went straight backwards off the footpath and onto the ground and the bus went over him,” the witness said. “Edward turned around, looked at me and then ran.”
Civil servant Fiona Hallinan was leaving work around the time of the incident when she saw three men arguing on Dawson Street.
She told prosecuting counsel Tom O’Connell SC that one of the men punched another with a closed fist. She said the punch connected with the man’s chest and he staggered back.
Ms Hallinan said she covered her face because she “could see what was going to happen.” She said that afterwards a young man beside her told her not to look.
“But I did look,” she said. “The poor man was on the ground and the bus had rolled over him.”
She said she was about six feet from the scene and agreed with defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC that “she had seen a horrific event, the likes she had never seen before and will never see again.”
Ms Hallinan said that the man who delivered the punch “bulldozed through the crowd and ran away and that was it.”
Connors was later arrested and told gardaí in interview: “I am sorry about him, it was an accident.”
He said he knew Mr Dudley because they both used to beg in the city centre area. He said he asked him for the use of his phone so he could get drugs.
He said that during this interaction Mr Dudley stumbled back off the kerb. Connors claimed he went to grab him and that his fist connected with his face by accident.