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Father-of-five who assaulted 'popular, gentle' man who later died jailed for 2.5 years

Construction worker Paul Gill pleaded guilty to assaulting Patrick Kelly today.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Image: Google Maps

A KILDARE FATHER-of-five who admitted assaulting a “popular, gentle” man who later died has been jailed for two and a half years.

Construction worker Paul Gill (37) of Sarto Road, Naas, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the deceased Patrick “Patsy” Kelly (58) and his former neighbour, Martin Curtis, on 22 August 2015.

He had pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Kelly during the same incident and was acquitted of manslaughter after a six-day trial last month.

The jury in the trial heard evidence that the row was over late-night drinking and noise at Curtis’s home on Sarto Road spanning seven years.

Eye-witnesses described seeing Gill confront the deceased outside Curtis’ house that night and punch him in the face. Gill then dragged Kelly up to eight metres from Curtis’ front door to the road and kicked him once in the head.

Gill then attacked Curtis when he arrived on the scene, Detective Garda Enda Coleman told Orla Crowe SC, prosecuting, during the sentencing hearing last week.

Emergency services arrived and administered continuous CPR to Kelly, but he died.

Post-mortem evidence in the trial revealed Kelly died from heart disease and that the minor trauma from the assault was a contributing factor.

Today, Judge Melanie Greally noted Kelly was a popular man who was greatly loved and that the circumstances of his death had been extremely distressing to his family.

Judge Greally said that the aggravating factors of the case included the fact that Kelly, who was vulnerable and intoxicated, had been taken by surprise by the assault and was totally incapable of defending himself. She noted he had been kicked to head while on the ground.

She noted in mitigation that Gill had entered a guilty plea, made admissions and expressed remorse.

She said that Gill had a difficult upbringing but now had a stable and supportive marriage and young family as well as a strong work history.

She noted the effects of his bail conditions had a punitive effect on his life. One of the conditions of his bail was that he had to stay out of Kildare, apart from weekends when he could visit his family within their home.

Judge Greally said she accepted Gill could not have known of Kelly’s heart condition.
She noted the maximum sentence for this offence was five years.

Taking all the circumstances into account she imposed a two and a half year sentence on Gill in relation to the assault on Kelly and took the assault on Mr Curtis into account.

At last week’s hearing, Detective Garda Coleman agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending, that Gill was visibly upset in an interview after the arrest.

He agreed that Gill had a vague recollection of what had happened because he’d been drinking but that he had answered all questions and admitted the assaults.

In her victim impact statement, Kelly’s sister said her family have been left with deep psychological scars.

Bernadette Kelly described her deceased brother as “kind and caring and extremely thoughtful” and said she still sets a place for him at her table at Christmas time.

She finished her statement saying: “No-one has the right to take the law into their own hands”.

Clarke had asked Judge Greally to be lenient on his client, taking into account that Gill has also been “distressed and traumatised” by what has happened.

He submitted that Gill is a hardworking man who has had difficulties and tragedy in his own background.

Read: Sister of assault victim who died still sets his dinner place at Christmas, court hears

More: Gardaí found ‘weapons’ in Hawe family home – two knives and a small axe

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About the author:

Aoife Nic Ardghail and Fiona Ferguson

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