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Murder trial witness describes how champion boxer was struck and 'taken away' by speeding jeep

Logan Jackson (31) is charged with murdering Kevin Sheehy (20) in Limerick city over two years ago.

Image: Laura Hutton via RollingNews.ie

A MURDER TRIAL witness has described how he tried to grab onto his cousin – Irish champion boxer Kevin Sheehy – before he was struck and “taken away” from him by a speeding jeep.

The Central Criminal Court also heard that Thomas Lysaght tried to pull the 20-year-old off the ground but the vehicle “spun around” and came back towards them for a second time. “I had to let Kevin go and move away. He was dragged up the road,” Lysaght told the trial today.

The witness described how he then tried to divert the driver’s attention away from his cousin but that the jeep “went over” the talented athlete a third time before fleeing the scene.

Lysaght was giving evidence today in the trial of Logan Jackson (31), who is charged with murdering Sheehy (20) in Limerick city over two years ago.

Jackson with an address at Longford Road, Coventry, England has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Sheehy’s manslaughter at Hyde Road in Limerick city on 1 July 2019.

Sheehy, a five times Irish boxing champion, died after being struck by a vehicle. His body was discovered lying on the road at about 4.40am.

Giving evidence today, Lysaght told prosecution counsel Dean Kelly SC that he and Kevin are cousins but were more “like brothers”.

Lysaght said Kevin was at the Munster hurling final match on 30 June so they made arrangements to meet in a pub at 6.30pm that day and were together for the rest of the night.

At 2am they got a taxi to Michael Clancy’s house on Hyde Road, where up to 15 people were drinking and talking in the sitting room.

“There were two people there who spoke differently, one older and one younger. The older guy had one leg and spoke with an English accent. He was in his late twenties and had big shoulders. The other guy with him was small,” he said.

When Lysaght and Kevin were leaving the party they stopped to talk to the two English guys. The witness told the jury that the “bigger guy” had his top off, which Kevin noticed and said: “Look at the muscles on that guy”.

When asked by Kelly if this man was indeed “a fella with big muscles”, Lysaght said he was not.

“I can’t remember the conversation after that. Kevin said that to him laughing. The smaller fella then flicked a fag at Kevin and Kevin started laughing,” he recalled.

The court heard that the “bigger guy” then told “the smaller guy” to get his keys, which he did.

Lysaght and Kevin began walking in the opposite direction but did not get too far.

“Me and Kevin were walking up the road just laughing. I was on the footpath, Kevin was half and half. I heard tyres squeaking. I understood that to be the jeep that the smaller fella went in and had got the keys for,” he explained.

Lysaght said he looked around but did not see much as a jeep was “coming too fast, heading towards me and Kevin”.

The witness grabbed onto Kevin as the jeep came up onto the curb. “It hit us and he was taken away from me by the jeep. I was stunned,” he said.

The jeep made contact with Lysaght’s leg. “I rolled along the jeep and hit off the pillar of the wall,” he said.

He told Kelly that the jeep was going fast and did not slow down at any stage.

When asked what happened when the jeep passed, Lysaght said he was “stunned” and began looking for his cousin but could not find him.

“When I did go over to him, he couldn’t say much and I was trying to get him up but the jeep spun around and came back towards us.

“I had to let Kevin go and move away. I couldn’t lift Kevin, he went over him a second time,” he said.

The deceased, he said, was “dragged up the road” so he could not see him initially but then found him in the middle of the road.

The witness told Kelly that Kevin was “moaning in pain”, could not talk and “there was blood”, when he tried to lift his cousin off the road after the first collision.

Describing the jeep going over Kevin a second time, Lysaght said Kevin could not do anything as he was lying down on the ground at the time.

“The jeep then turned back around, he came back up again. I took off my belt and tried to get him towards me to get him away from Kevin,” he said.

When asked if he saw the jeep go over Kevin a third time, the witness replied: “Yes, it just kept going”.

“It [the jeep] then turned onto the main road and drove straight into town. It happened on the smaller road and he drove away onto the big road,” he said, adding that he did not see the jeep again.

Lysaght described going over to Kevin saying: “There was a lot of blood and cuts and he could not talk. One girl came up and she tried to do CPR and rang an ambulance. She was doing everything she could to help him.”

The witness ended his testimony by telling the jury that Kevin was unconscious at the time and his eyes were open as he lay on the ground.

Michael Bowman SC, for Jackson, will have an opportunity to cross-examine Lysaght tomorrow.

Other witnesses

Earlier, Garda Shane Ryan identified Jackson as the driver of a black coloured jeep, who exited the vehicle at Hyde Road on 1 July 2019 at 4.25am and walked in the direction of a house. He said the accused has a very distinctive limp. At 4.45am, the witness said that Jackson entered the driver’s seat of the jeep and his friend entered the rear passenger seat. The same car is then seen in CCTV footage driving at speed in the direction of pedestrians on Hyde Road.

Derek Hanlon told Kelly that he was walking to his cousin’s house on Hyde Road in Limerick at about 4.15am on the morning of 1 July 2019.

Hanlon testified that he stopped to talk to Michael Clancy, who lived on Hyde Road, and they were having “a laugh and a joke”. Sheehy then came out of one of the houses on Hyde Road and joined in their conversation. “He’s a boxer, so there is always a bit of slagging between me and Kevin,” he said.

The witness said “lads” were there that he did not know and one of them was older, about 30 years of age and had an English accent. Hanlon said Sheehy and the man with the English accent were “having a few words”.

Hanlon agreed with Kelly that the two men were kind of arguing but “nothing physical” happened.

Describing the man with the English accent, Hanlon said he had no top on, was of stocky build and had a tattoo on his back. “A small fella” with dark hair was with him, who was in his early 20′s, he said.

After the argument, Hanlon said that Sheehy was laughing and strolled down the road with his cousin. “They were going to the south-side, back up home,” he added.

Hanlon said he began to walk with Sheehy and his cousin.

Hanlon said he saw the man with the accent get into a Mitsubishi jeep which had an English registration. When asked which seat of the vehicle he had got into, the witness said he did not know.

Hanlon told Kelly in his evidence that he saw the jeep move and drove towards Carey’s Road.

Recalling the events of the early morning of 1 July, Hanlon said the jeep then turned around and “came driving back down the same inside road”.

The witness said the jeep was driving “very fast towards us” on the inside road and mounted the path.

“I got out of the way, into one of the gardens. I then heard two bangs, the first bang was easier or softer than the second one,” he said.

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“I came out and found [a named man] on the ground, he was close to me. I tried to get him out of the way. Kevin was further away, around 20 to 30 yards and was lying on the ground. He was on the inside road near the grass,” he continued.

Describing to the jury what happened next, Hanlon said that the jeep “went down the road again and it rolled over Kevin”.

“Kevin was trying to fight. He tried to get up off the ground before the jeep hit him a second time but he wasn’t able to,” he said.

Hanlon told Kelly that the vehicle was going very fast and the wheels of the jeep had hit or “went over” Kevin a second time.

“People were screaming. The jeep tried to go for all of us then,” he said.

When asked what happened next, Hanlon said the jeep went back up towards Clancy’s Road and came back again.

He said Sheehy’s cousin had tried his best to save Kevin’s life and gave him “oxygen”.

The witness told Kelly that he did not know if the jeep hit Sheehy a third time nor where the vehicle went after this.

“I just sat on the ground on my own,” he concluded, adding that he was not able to see how Sheehy was at this stage.

Under cross-examination by Bowman, for the accused, Hanlon said there was an argument between Sheehy and Jackson but the deceased had diffused it by walking away.

When asked if anyone had taken a belt from their waist and stepped forward towards Jackson and his friend, Hanlon said “not that he had seen”.

Michael Clancy, who lived on Hyde Road, said he had seen Jackson driving the black Mitsubishi jeep with a UK registration on multiple occasions on 30 June. He said he saw Sheehy and Lysaght walking away from his house when Jackson and his friend got into the jeep, which took off at speed.

“I seen the jeep going over Kevin a second time but I don’t know anything after that,” he said, adding that he had thrown his bunch of keys at the window of the vehicle when he saw it came back a second time. However, the witness said it did not stop the jeep.

Bianca Brophy said she was at the house party on Hyde Road and saw Jackson ask his friend for the keys to the jeep before the fight happened on the street. “He gave them to him and they walked out of the house,” she said.

She came outside the house when she heard screaming and saw Kevin on the ground. “I was trying to help but he wasn’t responding. There was blood coming out the back of his head,” she said.

Charges

Jackson also denies intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to others to wit; driving a Mitsubishi jeep vehicle dangerously at high speed in the direction of pedestrians on the same occasion.

The charge of endangerment is contrary to Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

The jury have been told that Jackson is a native of Coventry in the UK and has “some family connections” in Limerick.

In his opening address, prosecution counsel Kelly told the jury that Jackson “thundered” a jeep into the 20-year-old before driving over him again at speed.

The trial has also heard that Sheehy and Jackson had “an exchange” moments after leaving a house party where they had gone to celebrate Limerick’s Munster hurling final victory over Tipperary in 2019. The court was told that “some exception was taken by something that was said or words spoken”.

The trial continues tomorrow before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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Alison O'Riordan

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