The Central Criminal Court has heard a Dublin man died on his 74th birthday after a vicious and sustained assault by his son at their home in 2018.
Mark Tims, 48, from Rowlagh Green, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 has denied murdering his father Anthony Tims but admits manslaughter.
Prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney told the jury it was fair to say the relationship between father and son was difficult and volatile. He said both men drank a lot and there were many arguments over the years.
Mark Tims' mother had died many years previously and the men continued to share the family home.
On 13 July 2018 Anthony Tims had spent the morning of his birthday shopping with his granddaughter, the accused man's daughter, on whom he "doted". He later spent the afternoon drinking at a local pub.
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Mark Tims had spent the afternoon drinking at home. His daughter and ex-partner Lil McDonagh were also in the house having been shopping with Anthony Tims earlier. The jury heard Anthony Tims had a number of health issues and Ms McDonagh did a lot of work caring for him.
Shortly after 8pm he returned from the pub and an argument started between father and son.
Mr Delaney said it was likely "one word borrowed another" and Mark Tims "set upon his father punching him to head and face several times. A mug was used to strike the deceased and he fell to the floor and Mark Tims repeatedly kicked him in the head and trunk."
The jury was told Lil McDonagh tried to intervene but the accused pushed her back and she fell to the floor.
She called to a neighbour for assistance and when she came back she found Anthony Tims lying on the kitchen floor calling for help.
Mr Delaney said Mark Tims came down stairs and grabbed his coat before going back into the kitchen and kicking his father a number of times more before leaving the house on a bike. He said this may be disputed.
An ambulance was called and when it arrived Mr Tims was in cardiac arrest. He was taken to Tallaght University Hospital and was pronounced dead shortly before 10pm.
After leaving the house Mark Tims met a friend before buying a substantial amount of alcohol from an off licence.
He went to a nearby green area and remained there for the next 24 hours before gardaí, who had set up a search party, found him hiding in undergrowth. An aunt had been in contact with him by phone and he knew his father had died. He was arrested and interviewed four times. During those interviews he admitted assaulting his father.
A post-mortem examination showed Anthony Tims had suffered blunt force trauma to his head along with multiple rib fractures, which caused air to enter his chest cavity causing his lungs to collapse leading to his death. He also had severe heart disease, which would have been a complicating factor in his death.
Mr Delaney said Anthony Tims did not have particularly good health and used a walking stick. He said the complicating factor of his heart disease did not mean that the injuries he sustained in the assault did not cause his death.
He said the prosecution did not have to prove that the injuries were the only cause of death but that they were a substantial cause. He said the prosecution must prove that Anthony Tims intended to kill or cause serious injury to his father, adding "if you repeatedly kick a 74-year-old man in the head and back the natural and probable cause of those actions is that he will sustain serious injury."
The main witness to the assault, Elizabeth McDonagh, told the court that an argument had broken out between the two men when "out of the blue" Anthony Tims had told Mark Tims he wanted him out of the house and was going to call the guards.
She told Mark to ignore his father but the two men started shouting at each other.
She said Mark Tims jumped out of the chair and "headlocked" his father and gave him "two digs to the head" and he fell to the ground.
She broke down as she described how Mark Tims "started kicking Tony and I begged him to stop but he would not stop he was kicking him to the head and chest and he put his foot on top of him".
She said Anthony Tims called out to her to help him but "I could not help he was too strong I could not get him off him.
I did everything I could to save Tony and I couldn't do anything."
She had tried to get between the two men but Mark Tims had pulled her away.
She said she went for help to neighbour’s houses and told them to call an ambulance and the police because Mark Tims had gone too far and "wasn’t just kicking he was putting his boot down like he was dancing all over his head".
She said when she went back to the house Mark was coming down the stairs and grabbed his jacket and went back into the kitchen and kicked his father twice in the chest before leaving.
She had thrown his bike outside to try to get him to leave the house. She said Anthony Tims stopped breathing and a neighbour had tried to resuscitate him before the ambulance arrived. She said at that stage "Tony was gone to me".
Ms McDonagh said Mark and Anthony Tims fought like "cats and dogs" in the house. Mr Tims Snr had often told his son he wanted him out of the house, she said.
During cross-examination by defence counsel Vincent Heneghan she agreed that Mark Tims had earlier said to his father that he had cremated his breakfast and needn’t bother making his breakfast again.
She said she believed Mark was messing when he said this. She said she believed that was what "kicked the whole thing off".
She agreed that Anthony Tims had "got thick" and told Mark he was a disappointment and wished he had never been born. She agreed he had a phone in his hand and was telling Mark he was going to phone the gardaí and wanted him out of the house.
This would often be said by the deceased. She said he could be in good form one minute and get angry the next. She said he also called his son a "waster".
Ms McDonagh also said Mark Tims was "in a rage" before the assault and said the slightest thing could "tip him off".
Mark Tims denies the charge. The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury.