A life sentence has just been imposed on Kerry man Christopher O’Sullivan for the manslaughter of a 53-year-old homeless man at the Mardyke in Cork in October 2019.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott said: “A sentence of life imprisonment is a rare and exceptional step to take [in a manslaughter case].”
However, the judge said it was deserved in the case against 40-year-old O’Sullivan for the manslaughter of Timmy Hourihane.
“The killing was carried out in a vicious, merciless and brutal manner.
“Mr Hourihane was repeatedly kicked and stamped on on the ground when prone and defenceless.
“It was a horrible death.
“It is clear that [O’Sullivan’s] offending is of an escalating nature which gives rise to concern about future offences and the very real threat he poses in the future.
“The nature of this offence is the worst kind of killing and ranks just short of murder… It was a shocking, unrelenting, pitiless and savage attack on a man who lay helpless on the ground.”
The killer apologised to the family but they said in a victim statement that he had the presence of mind on the night of the killing to go away and burn his clothing while their loved one lay dying.
Christopher O’Sullivan, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to his part in the manslaughter of the former chef at a homeless encampment in Cork City.
Timmy Hourihane, a 53-year-old father-of-one, was fatally injured when he was attacked near his tent on Mardyke Walk in October 2019 and died a short time later in hospital.
As he lay dying, his killers walked over to his tent nearby and set fire to that. Christopher O’Sullivan burnt some of his clothes in that fire and more of them in another fire in the area.
Son of the deceased Elliot Hourihane said in a victim impact statement read by Detective Superintendent Michael Comyns that he could not describe how angry and sad he felt.
“They killed my dad in the most brutal and savage way. You don’t get those kind of injuries my dad sustained if they were not trying to end his life. How is this fair? He has left a son without a father, mother without a son and siblings without a brother.”
The accused had very serious previous convictions. These included one of assault causing serious harm in 2007 to a man who sustained catastrophic injuries to his face when he was attacked in the door of a house.
“It bears a lot of similarities to the assault on Mr Hourihane. Following that assault [in 2007], he asked other people to take the injured party out of the building and leave him lying prone on the roadside,” Det Supt Comyns said.
A co-accused was jailed previously for 11 years for his part in the manslaughter.