Judge adjourns Connors sentence pending report on prison facilities

Wednesday 04 June 2014 19.15
Eoghan Dudley died almost instantly after he was pushed under a bus
Eoghan Dudley died almost instantly after he was pushed under a bus

A homeless man who killed an acquaintance by knocking him under a Dublin Bus in Dublin city centre a year-and-a-half ago will be sentenced in October.

A Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury found Edward Connors, of no fixed abode, guilty following an eight-day manslaughter trial last month.

Eoghan Dudley, 28, died almost instantly from "catastrophic and traumatic injuries" after going under the rear wheel of the bus on Dawson Street during rush hour traffic in December 2012.

Both men were heroin users at the time and both had the drug in their system at the time of the death.

The victim's injuries were so severe that he could not be identified. Gardaí had to issue a public appeal and use a DNA test to find out who he was.

Today, the court heard evidence from the victim's mother who said she would "give anything to see my son one last time".

Judge Patrick McCartan remanded 30-year-old Connors in custody for sentence on 7 October.

The judge wants a report on whether there is any alternative to a jail sentence for Connors after hearing that there is a lack of facilities in prison for people who are deaf and unable to speak.

He said it was hard to conceive someone who has come from tougher circumstances than Connors.

Connors, formerly of Bearna Park in Sandyford, Dublin, admitted interacting with Mr Dudley.

However, he claimed that what looked 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.

He had pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Mr Dudley on 6 December 2012.

Mr Dudley's mother, Noleen, described the fear she felt when she heard about the death and "the dreadful confirmation" that it was her son.

She said her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time and "it could have been anyone walking down Dawson Street".

During an emotional victim impact statement, she described her son as bright, kind and loving and said that his death is "like a nightmare that we haven't and can't wake up from".

"I would give anything for another five minutes with my son just to hug him and tell him how much we love him no matter what."

Ms Dudley said her daughter very nearly came across the scene of the killing, as it was on her normal route, but "mercifully" she decided to go a slightly different way that day.

She also thanked the members of the public who covered up her son's body to spare his dignity and save others from seeing it.

During the trial, 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.

After his arrest Connors denied his guilt and tried to blame his friend, who was with him at the time, for the killing.

He later admitted making some contact with Mr Dudley and blamed the former head shop drug "snow blow".

"It was all because of blow," he told gardaí. "I was off my head. I don't know."

Connor's defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC presented evidence that because he is deaf he will be particularly isolated in prison.

He has been homeless for the last eight years and a heavy heroin user since he was 19.