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Bouncer found guilty of manslaughter of Galway publican who was beaten and bound in ladies toilet

John Kenny was discovered lying face down in the ladies toilets of his bar.

The verdict was delivered today at Galway Circuit Court.
The verdict was delivered today at Galway Circuit Court.
Image: David Nevin

A MAN HAS been found guilty of the manslaughter of a Galway publican and schoolteacher who was brutally beaten to death at his bar in 2011.

The body of John Kenny (56) was discovered lying face down in the ladies toilets at Kenny’s Bar, Main Street, Oughterard on Sunday 25 September 2011 by his wife and daughter.

He was tied up and had suffered a violent and sustained assault. His injuries included fractured ribs, a shattered shoulder blade, extensive muscle and soft tissue damage as well as damage to his forearms, wrists and hands.

Although money had been taken from the till and from Kenny on the night of this death, this safe was revealed to contain over €25,000 in cash and the room in which it resided did not appear to have been disturbed.

Today at Galway Circuit Court, a jury of seven men and four women returned a guilty verdict against Marian Lingurar Jnr. (24), a Romanian native with an address at Blackpool, Co. Cork.

Lingurar Jnr, who was a juvenile at the time, worked as a bouncer at Kenny’s Bar on the night in question – the second time he had done so.

In statements given to gardaí in the days following the killing, he told gardaí he left the premises at 1am – at which point he claimed to see John Kenny close and lock the door behind him.

He claimed he arrived back at his then home in Claregalway 40 minutes later, went to bed and was ‘sure’ he had not used his phone to call or text anyone after this point.

However, it was the prosecution’s case that he returned to Oughterard with at around 2.20am with his father, as part of a plan involving several people to steal from John Kenny and commit violence if necessary.

It’s believed that when Lingurar Jnr and barman Florin Fitzpatrick left the closed pub at 1.30am, two men were still inside with John Kenny – one of these men was Vasile Muntean, a man known to gardaí and whose fingerprint was recovered at the scene.

At this point, John Kenny was described as being extremely intoxicated to the point of being incapacitated. Witnesses recalled seeing him being helped to a chair at the end of the night.

The evidence in the case was entirely circumstantial but the prosecution argued that this made it ‘no less of a case’ due to its ‘overwhelming’ nature.

During the trial, evidence was given that mobile phone data placed Marian Lingurar Jnr. and his father back in Oughterard between 2.20am and 3am on the night of John Kenny’s death.

Those record also show that Vasile Muntean communicated extensively with Marian Lingurar Jnr. between 10pm and 3am Lingurar Jur. later told gardaí he did not know Muntean and had not been communicating with him.

CCTV footage

The jury was also shown extensive CCTV footage of a vehicle of interest, which travelled between Galway and Oughterard several times between Saturday evening, and the early hours of Sunday morning.

In his closing statement, counsel for the prosecution, Patrick Gageby SC, said it was “very simple” that Vasile Muntean, and likely another man, remained at the pub after it closed and that Marian Lingurar Jnr. and his father returned to Oughterard at 2.20am.

He said they were all part of plan to steal from John Kenny and use violence if necessary – and Marian Lingurar Jnr. was “up to his armpits in it” and played a “pivotal role”.

Marian Lingurar Jnr. was today also found guilty of a second charge of trespass with intent to commit an offence.

He’s due to appear back before Galway Circuirt Court on Wednesday the 8th of May, when probation and governance reports will be presented, as well as victim impact statements.

Kathleen and Gillian Kenny declined to speak following the verdict, though expressed a wish to acknowledge and praise the tireless work of gardaí, the prosecution, and “all those behind the scenes” during the course of the investigation.

This is the first time someone has been convicted over the killing of John Kenny over 7 seven years ago – but it is not the end of the investigation.

Two men – Florin Fitzpatrick and Marian Lingurar Snr. – have previously been jailed for withholding information in the case, the state also withdrew a manslaughter charge against Lingurar Snr.

However, during the trial, Detective Garda Henry Burke gave evidence that gardaí are still actively seeking two other men for questioning, including Vasile Muntean.

His fingerprints were found at Kenny’s Bar by forensic investigators and his presence was supported by witness statements, while mobile phone records place him in Oughterard that night.

It’s believed he arrived at the bar at around 10.30pm on the Saturday and remained there with another individual after the bar was closed some time after 1am.

The last customer to leave the bar, witness Edward McDonagh, recalled that at this point, the only people remaining were a very drunk John Kenny, barman Florin Fitzpatrick and two “scary” looking “eastern European men”.

The court also heard last week that Muntean was in custody in the UK at some point in recent years and an attempt was made to “engage” with him, but this failed as it required his permission which was not forthcoming.

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He subsequently disappeared, and his current whereabouts remain a mystery.

The second man still being sought by gardaí for questioning in relation to the killing of John Kenny was named in court by Detective Garda Burke as a Mr. Rostás, though details on this man were scarce, other than that he also left the country after the killing.

Much of the trial also focused on Florin Fitzpatrick, the man who worked behind the bar at Kenny’s over a number of years and was jailed for withholding information in the case.
He is a Romanian national but took the name of his Irish wife after they married.

The court heard that in the early hours of Sunday morning, at around 2.45am, he told a woman at a bar in Galway city that a friend of his had been killed in Oughterard.

He also texted John Kenny shortly after this, asking “Are you OK?” and a few minutes later, asking “please tell me you are OK.”

During closing statements, counsel for the prosecution Patrick Gageby SC asked the jury to consider what “well” Fitzpatrick could possibly have drawn this information from.

On the first day of evidence, John Kenny’s wife Kathleen, and daughter Gillian, both described Fitzpatrick as a negative influence on John Kenny.

Money

In the opening days of the trial, Professor Marie Cassidy, the then State Pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination, gave detailed evidence of the violent injuries.

She outlined how most of John Kenny’s ribs had been fractured and how one of his shoulder blades was “broken up into small pieces”, something she said would be difficult to do to a healthy adult male.

She gave evidence that the most significant injury was to the ‘trunk’ of John Kenny and said this was possibly as a result of two heavy blows to this back and one to his front with a heavy object, and that considerable force would have been required.

She said his death was primarily due to blunt force trauma and positional asphyxia, but intoxication and early stages of heart disease could have been contributing factors.

About the author:

David Nevin

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