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Three young men on trial for murder of man (64) found dead in his home

The 64-year-old man was found slumped in his armchair four days after he was allegedly beaten to death at his home.

Sister Senan Court
Sister Senan Court
Image: Google Street View

A 64-YEAR-OLD Offaly man was found slumped in his armchair four days after he was allegedly beaten to death with a baseball bat, a murder trial jury has heard.

The Central Criminal Court heard today that Thomas ‘Toddy’ Dooley was found in the living room of his home in Edenderry on 16 February 2014 – four days after his death. He died from injuries to his upper body and head.

Matthew Cummins (22) of Churchview Heights, Edenderry, Co Offaly, Sean Davy (21) of Clonmullen Drive, Edenderry, Co Offaly and James Davy (25) of Thornhill Meadows, Celbridge, Co Kildare are charged with murdering Thomas Dooley (64) at Sister Senan Court in Edenderry, Co Offaly on 12 February 2014.

This morning at the Central Criminal Court, the three men pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Opening the case for the prosecution Mr Patrick Treacy SC told the jury of eight men and four women that this case was one that can be described as a joint enterprise.

“It is not the case that one of these men is more responsible than the other. The case is that all three of them were intrinsically involved in the act of murdering Thomas Dooley,” he said.

All three men arrived at the home of Thomas Dooley, they all behaved in a manner that caused the unlawful death of Thomas Dooley and then all three men left his home.

Prosecution counsel told the jury that they would hear that Mr Dooley was seen “alive and well” on 11 February 2014 when he received ‘meals on wheels’.

“You will be hearing from a lady who delivered a meal to him on that day,” he said.

Mr Treacy told the jury they will also hear that James Davy left Celbridge, Co Kildare on 11 February and went to Edenderry in Co Offaly.

Counsel told the jury that they would hear that during the afternoon and evening of 11 February James Davy went drinking in a public house called Mangan’s in Edenderry along with his cousin Sean Davy.

Mr Treacy told the court they would hear evidence that James Davy had a wooden baseball bat in his possession in the pub.

A lady called April Murray was also in Mangan’s pub and it was later decided that James and Sean Davy would go to her house in Edenderry for a party along with a number of other people from the pub.

Communication was then made with Matthew Cummins and he joined Sean and James Davy at the party in Ms Murray’s house.

“We now have the three co-accused men in April Murray’s house in the early hours of 12 February 2014,” he said.

The court heard it would be alleged that the three men left Ms Murray’s home at 5am that morning and went to where Mr Dooley was living.

“There is evidence of them going there and being there, you will hear that. The kernel of the case is that the three men were in the home of Thomas Dooley, it led to a situation happening where he lost his life,” said Mr Treacy.

Mr Dooley was subsequently found on Sunday, 16 February, slumped in the armchair of his living room with severe head injuries.

“You will hear detailed evidence of the condition of his home and the furniture. You will also hear difficult evidence about the unfortunate physical condition that Mr Dooley was in from State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy,” he said.

The court heard that the prosecution case is that the deceased died from instrumental blunt trauma to his head and chest.

“Part of the prosecution case is that this baseball bat was instrumental in beating him to death by the acts of these three men who were in his home in the early morning of 12 February 2014,” said Mr Treacy.

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Counsel told the jury they will also hear there was an attempt to set the armchair that Mr Dooley was sitting in on fire but this proved unsuccessful.

He said the jury would hear there were attempts to set Mr Dooley’s clothing on fire and clean up the scene of the crime after it took place.

“Certain items were taken out of Mr Dooley’s house by the men and subsequently disposed of by the men but later retrieved by the gardaí. We will seek to show you the evidence of what their movements were after this took place,” said counsel.

Mr Treacy also told the court that a significant feature of the case will be that certain items were retrieved by the gardai when they were carrying out their investigation and these included the wooden baseball bat, Mr Dooley’s sleeping medication and clothes belonging to one of the accused men.

“Effectively the case will seek to go chronologically through the build-up of this offence and show the conduct of the accused persons in the aftermath of this offence. The prosecution will seek to prove that all three men were present in Mr Dooley’s home and that the three of them were part of a joint enterprise which led to his death,” he said.

Mr Treacy told the court that the prosecution will also seek to adduce evidence arising from the detention of the men and what they said.

“We will call garda officers who were part of the detention process,” he added.

In conclusion, Mr Treacy told the court that the prosecution’s case was all directed towards the one fundamental point that after 5am on the night, the three accused men went to the home of Mr Dooley where “in the rather confined circumstances of his home he was effectively beaten to death through the actions of these men”.

The trial continues tomorrow before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.

Comments are closed as the trial is ongoing. 

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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