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Alleged murder victim Thomas Dooley.

Widow of man allegedly murdered in cemetery denies falling out had occurred with another family

Six men have gone at trial charged with the murder of Thomas Dooley at New Rath Cemetery in Rathass, Tralee on 5 October 2022.

A WOMAN WHO has given evidence at a murder trial that her husband was attacked and killed by a group of armed men in a cemetery in Tralee, Co Kerry two years ago has refuted suggestions of a falling out between her family and another family prior to the incident.

Six men have gone at trial at a sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork charged with the murder of Thomas Dooley, at New Rath Cemetery, Rathass, Tralee on 5 October 2022.

The court heard that Siobhán Dooley and her husband Thomas had travelled from their home in Killarney to attend the funeral of a friend when an altercation occurred.

Siobhán Dooley incurred serious injuries in the same incident in which her 43-year-old husband died.

The accused in the case include Patrick Dooley (36) of Arbutus Grove, Killarney; Daniel Dooley (42) of An Carraigín, Connolly Park, Tralee; Thomas Dooley Snr (43), Thomas Dooley Jnr (21) Michael Dooley (29) of Carrigrohane Road, Cork; and a teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons. Patrick is the brother of the late Thomas Dooley.

All six have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Thomas Dooley.

Thomas Dooley Jnr also pleaded not guilty to a charge of intentionally or recklessly causing harm to Siobhán Dooley at Rath Cemetery on the same date. The case, which is being heard before Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring, is expected to last until the end of July.

Today, Siobhán Dooley was cross examined by defence senior counsels Brendan Grehan and Tom Creed.

Grehan, who is representing Patrick Dooley, put it to Siobhán Dooley that there had been a falling out between her family and that of defendant Thomas Dooley Snr and his family.

Siobhán Dooley refuted his suggestion. She stressed that the two families had “never had words.”

“We never actually fell out. We never exchanged words. The trouble only started when my daughter, Rosie, wouldn’t agree to marry Thomas’ son.”

She said that a “clear break” between the two families occurred on 28 November 2019 at the wedding of one of her and her husband’s other children.

“We (the two families) never communicated after that. We never spoke. We weren’t speaking, but we never fell out. They couldn’t accept that my daughter would not marry one of their sons.”

Thomas Dooley Snr is a brother-in-law and first cousin of the deceased. Thomas Dooley Snr is also a brother of Michael and Daniel Dooley, who are also first cousins of the deceased.

Siobhán Dooley previously said that her late husband had told her to run for her life with their children at the cemetery after he was attacked by armed men.

Siobhán Dooley said that Thomas Dooley Snr and Patrick Dooley and two other men approached her husband in the graveyard.

“I saw Tom (Snr) with something in his hand. He had two weapons. One was kinda shiny like new, the other was rusty and one had a kinda round top. The other was a big chunk of a yoke. I had never seen anything like it before.

“Tom (Snr) said ‘you are a big man now. Patrick was grinning. He had another weapon. I’m not sure what it was. Tom’s son Thomas and the teenager came from behind and went past me.”

She claimed that Thomas Jnr had a weapon in his hand which he started swinging. Siobhán said that she feared one of her sons would be hit on the head with the weapon. She stated that she pushed him out of the way and herself “got cut.”

“I knew they were going to do harm because of the weapons. I tried to squeeze in between them. I knew I had no hope. I told my oldest son to run, but he wouldn’t.”

She started scraping Tom on the face and eyes with her nails.

She said: “I was trying to keep my daughter back to stop her getting hurted. I heard one of them saying ’take her out too. Get rid of her.’ That was when I got another bang and was pegged to the ground.

“I looked towards my husband. They were all gathered around him, all six. He just turned his head and he told me to run.”

Siobhán Dooley said she saw Thomas Snr, Patrick and Daniel, the latter of whom she thought initially was another man who looked like him, hitting her husband with weapons.

She stated that Patrick was hitting her husband on the leg with a weapon and there “was blood squirting everywhere”. Thomas was also hitting the legs of her husband.

She said: “They started laughing and Tom said ‘you are a big man now.”

Her daughter starting roaring and said ‘poor daddy’s blood is going everywhere’.

“I ran with my children. I had no choice. I had to save my children”.

Siobhán Dooley saw a Garda car in the garage across the road from the cemetery. She stated that she ran into the shop roaring at a Garda to assist them.

Prosecution Counsel Dean Kelly, SC, said the late Thomas Dooley was attacked with a “focused ferocity” by a group of men.

“They did exactly what they armed themselves to do – inflict injuries of the most grievous kind, inflict injuries most brazenly in broad daylight, right in front of the deceased man’s four children,” he said.

“The deceased had not offered the slightest provocation. He had not opened his mouth or raised his hand. It was carried out with murderous ferocity and murderous intent.”

Kelly said that the late Thomas Dooley sustained a spinal injury resulting in spinal shock, a stab wound to his thigh and a ‘chop’ wound to his right arm measuring 25cm.

He added that Siobhán Dooley sustained a wound to her back on the same occasion.

Olivia Kelleher