The jury who heard evidence over the past fortnight in the Mitchelstown, Co Cork, murder trial of the accused “kneeling over [the victim] punching the daylights out of him”, will continue deliberations tomorrow.
The autopsy showed the victim’s nose had been completely flattened and seven front teeth were knocked out and two of them ended up in his airways.
Michael Dineen, aged 28, of Ard Mhuileann, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, denies the charge of murdering 36-year-old Patrick O’Donnell at Willie Andies bar on New Square, Mitchelstown, on June 1, 2018. He admits being guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of murder.
Mr Justice Alexander Owens directed the jury on the legal issues they must consider in dealing with the evidence presented since the trial opened at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork on Monday, November 25.
Ted Fitzgerald, a customer in the pub that night, said Mr Dineen was panicking and demanding water from behind the bar: “He was saying, ‘Give me a pint of water, and I’ll wake up Paddy’. He was banging the counter saying, ‘Pint of water, pint of water, pint of water. I want to wake up Paddy’.”
Chloe Dignam-O’Connor had CPR training and testified: “Michael Dineen came over and said: ‘I killed him, I killed him’. I saw Paddy [the deceased]. I told Thomas Quilligan to start compressions. He was not breathing.
“He was badly bashed up. I could not do it myself [because of being heavily pregnant]. I showed Thomas Quilligan how to do it… He started breathing again. You could see the bubbles of breath in the blood on his nose. He looked dead. You could physically see he was trying very hard to breathe… It took 45 to 50 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.”
He was pronounced dead at 11.16pm that night.
Theresa Walsh was working in the pub on the day in question and described seeing Mr O’Donnell lying on the floor: “Michael was boxing him and boxing him and boxing him in the face. He [Mr O’Donnell] was not capable of defending himself. He kept punching him. I tried to tell him to stop and he would not stop. I screamed at him to stop but he would not stop for me… I was shouting and shouting at him but he could not stop himself. I was screaming.”
Mr O’Donnell died from inhaling his own blood and teeth due to blunt force trauma to the head which he suffered in the assault, former state pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy said.
A high level of intoxication combined with the fact that he had taken a number of tranquilisers, within the therapeutic range, was a contributory factor but not the cause of his death, she said.
In a recorded interview with gardaí, Mr Dineen said: “Everything was grand, good form, everything was fine. He started off that ‘you robbed my pint, you owe me a pint’. Then he just hit me in the side of the ear, in the back of the ear and he wrestled me to the corner to the chairs.
"I started throwing punches as well. Then he fell back and hit his head off the floor. He fell backwards… I did not want to hit him, I had to hit him, I had no other choice… A good friend of mine is dead over a drunken row in a pub.
“I have kids. He has kids. Life is too hard to be trying to make a lie or a mockery over the death of a friend. I feel very numb at the moment. There is a man dead. I am very, very, very sorry.”