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Man (28) found not guilty of murder of father-of-four who died after inhaling blood and teeth

Michael Dineen had denied the murder of Patrick O’Donnell but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A 28-YEAR-OLD MAN has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of a father-of-four who died from inhalation of blood and teeth after he suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

Michael Dineen (28) of Ard Mhuileann, Mitchelstown, Co Cork was remanded in custody until 2 March 2020 for sentencing at the Central Criminal Court having been found guilty of the manslaughter of Patrick O’Donnell (36) at Willie Andies bar in New Square in Mitchelstown on 1 June 2018.

Probation report and victim impact statements will be prepared in the interim. He expressed his profound apologies and sadness to the family of the deceased.

Dineen had denied the murder of O’Donnell but admitted being guilty of the manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty of manslaughter when he was arraigned at the start of the trial in the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.

Jurors had heard that Dineen attacked O’Donnell in a vicious incident.

Teresa Walsh, who was working in the bar at the time of the attack, told the trial that Dineen behaved “like a lunatic”.

She heard the noise of a heavy chair in the pub and went down to investigate. There she found O’Donnell on the floor following an assault. She said that Dineen was continuing to punch him.

“I have never seen anything like this before in my life. I kept shouting at him but he wouldn’t stop. When I went down Paddy was lying on the ground and Michael was boxing him and boxing him. He (O’Donnell) wasn’t capable of defending himself.”

Walsh said that Dineen asked her for a pint of water. She gave it to him and she testified that he poured it over O’Donnell. O’Donnell did not move.

She said Dineen then left the pub taking off his shirt and throwing it at the door before throwing himself on his knees and declaring that he was the “King of Mitchelstown.” She called the emergency services. She described O’Donnell as having been a “pleasant” man.

Meanwhile, former Chief State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy, who carried out a postmortem on the deceased, said that the death of Patrick O’Donnell was “directly related to trauma”.

She said the cause of death was inhalation of blood and teeth relating to blunt force trauma to the head. She cited the presence of tranquilisers and alcohol in his system as being a contributing factor.

She said that had O’Donnell not been assaulted, the level of alcohol and prescribed drugs in his system would have caused intoxication but not death.

Professor Cassidy didn’t find any evidence of defensive injuries, with the father-of-four effectively being knocked unconscious and unable to defend himself. There was no evidence of bleeding around the brain.

Describing the injuries she told of severe bruising and lacerations to the deceased’s head and face.

O’Donnell incurred a broken nose, which was flattened and seven of his teeth were dislodged with severe bruising and injuries to his gums and lips.

Several other of his teeth were loose in their sockets. There was bruising and lacerations to his scalp and his brain had swollen.

Professor Cassidy found two teeth lodged in his air passages, one in the upper part of his windpipe and the other where the windpipe enters the lung. Blood was discovered in the air passages.

She said O’Donnell suffered sustained severe injuries while lying on his back.

“There was blood from his mouth and nose resulting in blood at the back of his throat. The injuries were very likely due to being kicked and punched. There were grip injuries on his arms and there is no evidence to suggest the deceased attempted to defend himself.”

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Blood and urine samples showed high levels of alcohol and prescribed tranquilizer type drugs that were within the therapeutic prescription range. The alcohol and medication would have slowed down his central nervous system inhibiting the gag reflex.

She said there was a probability that when O’Donnell fell to the ground that he would have been rendered unconscious and “would have been in a vulnerable place”.

At his funeral mass last year in Ballindangan, Patrick O’Donnell was remembered as a “one in a million family man” who loved a good chat and had a hearty laugh. His nephew, Jimmy, said that Patrick was a kind husband, father, son, and uncle. He emphasised that “Ginty” lived for his family.

“Ginty loved his family, Leanne, his two sons and his two beautiful princesses. They were everything to him. He also adored his mother (Irene). She was the apple of his eye. He was a family man.

“He would have done anything for his family and friends. He didn’t have a bad word to say about anyone. All he wanted was to enjoy his life.”

Jimmy said his uncle loved to keep fit and was interested in all types of sports. He stated that Patrick also enjoyed the tranquillity of fishing and was always up for good humoured teasing from his nephews.

The chief celebrant at the mass, Father Michael Fitzgerald, thanked gardaí for their professionalism following the death of O’Donnell.

The congregation heard that life was not always simple for Patrick, but that his journey through this world was helped by his his “rock” of a wife Leanne.

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About the author:

Olivia Kelleher

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