Mullingar manslaughter trial told alcohol to blame for row

Friday 17 January 2014 22.26
Andrew Dolan died after injuries sustained during assault
Andrew Dolan died after injuries sustained during assault

A defendant accused of the manslaughter of Andrew Dolan 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, Co Leitrim.

The biomedical student passed away on 1 January 2012 from injuries sustained during an assault on Pearse Street in Mullingar after an incident in an Abrakebabra restaurant at around 2.40am on 23 December 2011.

Mr Daly further denies a charge of assaulting Ian Farrell on the same night.

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. 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 gardaí 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 b******."

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 gardaí.

The trial is due to continue before a judge Anthony Hunt at Mullingar Circuit Court on Monday.