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Shoulder blades of Galway publican were 'broken into small pieces', manslaughter trial hears

John Kenny was found dead on 25 September 2011.

Image: PA Images

FORMER STATE PATHOLOGIST Professor Marie Cassidy has today given evidence in court of the horrific injuries suffered by a Galway publican who was brutally beaten to death on his premises in 2011.

Today was the second day of evidence at Galway Circuit Court in the manslaughter trial over the death of John Kenny (56) at Kenny’s Bar, Main Street, Oughterard, Co. Galway on 25 September 25th, 2011.

Marian Lingurar Jr. (24) with an address in Blackpool, Co. Cork has pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing of Kenny and not guilty to a further charge of trespass with intent to commit an offence.

The prosecution alleges that Marian Lingurar Jr. was working at Kenny’s Bar as a bouncer that night and left in the early hours of the morning before returning a short time later with intent to steal, and commit violence if necessary.

When discovered by his wife Kathleen and daughter Gillian in the ladies toilets of the bar, John Kenny was lying face down with his hands tied tightly behind his back and a jacket wrapped around his head – he had suffered an extremely violent assault.

Today, Professor Marie Cassidy, the then State Pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination, gave detailed evidence of the violent injuries he suffered.

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.

He had also suffered extensive bruising to soft tissue or muscle around his neck, chest and back areas and crush injuries to abdominal fat, as well as damage to his hands, wrists, forearms and elbows which may have been defensive in nature.

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.

Dr. Cassidy also noted that none of the injuries would have led to rapid death, and that Kenny would likely have survived for a time.

Keys

It was also revealed today that the day after Kenny’s death, gardaí gained access to a safe in a separate room in the building using a set of keys found in the bar area.

This was revealed to contain over €25,000 in cash as well as documents including passports.

It was noted that this room was in a very untidy state, with a number of obstacles such as stored furniture, and it would have been “extremely difficult for anyone to navigate a path to that safe”.

Two men – Florin Fitzpatrick and Marian Lingurar – have previously been jailed on charges of withholding information in the case – but the state withdrew a charge of manslaughter against Marian Lingurar.

Giving evidence yesterday, both Kathleen and Gillian Kenny said they considered Florin Fitzpatrick – who it’s understood worked sporadically at the bar over a number of years – a particularly negative influence on John Kenny.

They claimed Kenny was afraid of Florin, with Gillian Kenny describing him as “no friend of my father” and “devious”; she said she believed he was ultimately responsible for her father’s death and that he had employed others to do his “dirty work”.

Other witnesses

Several witnesses who were drinking at Kenny’s Bar on the night of Saturday 24 September and into the following morning gave evidence at Galway Circuit Court today.

Witness Gintara Valentelye said that at around 12.30am, Florin Fitzpatrick was “shouting at people” and “seemed to be eager to get everyone out of the pub”.

He was also described by others as “angry” or “irritated”.

Another witness, Simon Gibbons, also said that Fitzpatrick “seemed like he wanted everyone out at 12.30” and that “closing time would have been a lot later”.

However, a number of witnesses gave evidence that they did not leave the bar until after 1am.

Witness Aisling Noone said John Kenny invited some people to “stay on for drinks” around this time, but that Florin Fitzpatrick, “didn’t appear to want that, he seemed to want to pack up and go”.

Witness Ronan O’ Malley said there was a “dirty looking” man who had come into the bar at around midnight. At around 12.45am when O’Malley was leaving, he claimed this man was “watching John”, who was drunk at the bar.

Witness Lee Clegget also recalled seeing a “rough-looking” man with dark skin and black hair in the bar, and said he had never seen this man before.

Yesterday, witness Edward McDonagh said he was the last person to leave the bar that night and said at that time, Florin Fitzpatrick, John Kenny, and two other men he described as “Eastern European or Romanian” were the only people left.

Today, his then girlfriend Stephanie Wallis said John Kenny was “incredibly drunk” when they were leaving and was unable to stand, and was helped to a chair near a fireplace by Florin Fitzpatrick.

She said the only people she remembers being left in the bar are John Kenny, Florin Fitzpatrick and another “Romanian man” who “had been on the door”.

Witnesses today and yesterday spoke of the ‘bouncer’ at Kenny’s Bar that night – several said they had either never seen him before, or had only seen him the previous weekend for the first time.

The prosecution alleges that Marian Lingurar Jr. – the man who stands accused of the manslaughter of John Kenny – was acting as a bouncer that night, and that he left the area with Florin Fitzpatrick and Marian Lingurar at around 1.30am.

The prosecution will seek to prove that the accused returned around 2.20am with others, and stayed for around 40 minutes with intent to steal and commit violence if necessary.

The trial continues at Galway Circuit Court.

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David Nevin

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