A defendant in a manslaughter trial told a garda sergeant “alcohol consumption” caused a row on the night a student was fatally wounded in Co Westmeath.
Jessica Hughes(21), Rathwire, Killucan, Co Westmeath and Patrick Daly(23) of Mulphedder, Clonard, Co Meath both deny unlawfully killing 20-year-old Andrew Dolan from Carrick-on-Shannon.
The biomedical student passed away on January 1, 2012 from injuries sustained during an assault on Pearse Street in Mullingar on December 23, 2011. Mr Daly further denies a charge of assaulting Ian Farrell on the same night.
It is the States contention that Ms Hughes, Mr Daly and a Mr Patrick Farrell delivered a total of six blows to Mr Dolan during an altercation at Pearse Street, Mullingar on December 23, 2011. The altercation occurred after an incident in Abrakebabra at around 2.40am.
The jury heard Patrick Farrell, who delivered the last blow before Mr Dolan fell and hit his head on the ground, has admitted to a charge of manslaughter.
Jurors were shown CCTV footage taken from the interior and exterior of Abrakebabra, from a local chemist and from garda cameras mounted on the street that night.
Mr Daly was arrested for public order offences shortly after the incident on December 23. He was taken to Mullingar Garda Station where Mr Farrell was also being held.
Shortly after 4am Sgt Roger Nicholson struck up a conversation with Ms Hughes who was waiting at the reception of Mullingar Garda Station.
“I spoke to her and she said she was waiting for her boyfriend who was arrested,” he explained. He said Ms Hughes, who clearly had drink taken, then told him her hand was sore as she had hit a man in a row.
At this point Sgt Nicholson cautioned Ms Hughes. “She stated again that she hit a man twice with her hand,” he told the court.
When asked what started the row, she gave what Sgt Nicholson described as an “abrupt answer - alcohol consumption.” Ms Hughes went on to say there were “verbal insults” on the night.
She was later arrested on suspicion of assault and interviewed. During her first interview she told gardai that while in Abrakebabra “Patrick Daly fell and the lads that were walking out were jeering and the fella in the blue jumper called him a red bastard.”
She recalled following the man and “started giving out to him” but after an exchange of words “I slapped him,” she said.
Ms Hughes was shown the CCTV footage before a second interview took place. “This escalated rapidly and the fact that drink was involved didn’t help anyone,” she told gardai.
She recalled visiting Mullingar Garda Station and waiting in the reception after the incident. Ms Hughes said she regretted what had happened and was sorry for what she did.
Mr Daly was arrested on suspicion of assault and interviewed on December 24. He said “it all started out of a verbal argument, that’s how it all kicked off.”
He too said a comment was made prior to the altercation and he admitted, “I came in and hit him a slap, I must have.”
After watching the CCTV, Mr Daly was interviewed again. “It shouldn’t have happened, other lads mouth to you when you are out and you walk away and laugh it off,” he said. “I’m remorseful and if I could take it back I would and I hope to god the lad pulls through,” he added.
The trial is due to continue before a judge Anthony Hunt at Mullingar Circuit Court today, Monday.