Man jailed for three and half years for killing journalist
Apprentice mechanic said he was disgusted with his ‘moment of craziness’
A file image of Gary Burch leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year. Photograph: Collins Courts
Eugene Moloney’s brother Sean speaks to reporters outside the Criminal Courts building in Dublin today after Gary Burch was jailed for three and a half years for the journalist’s death. Photograph: PA
A man who celebrated after delivering a fatal punch in a “gratuitous” assault on journalist Eugene Moloney has been jailed for three and a half years.
Gary Burch (22) threw his arms in the air in a “celebratory fashion” and shouted “boom” after punching Mr Moloney in the neck.
The apprentice mechanic, who has no previous convictions, became upset during interviews with gardai and told them he was disgusted with what was “a moment of craziness”.
Burch, of Kennington Close, Templogue, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of Mr Moloney (55) at 4am on Camden Street on June 24th, 2012.
Mr Moloney was taken to hospital by ambulance shortly after the assault but was pronounced dead an hour later.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last two years of a five and a half year sentence, which she back-dated to December 15th, 2012, to account for time already served in custody following his arrest.
She said, with regard to the usual injury, the effect of hitting someone on the neck can not be anticipated to lead to death.
Detective Inspector Sean Campbell told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting at the sentence hearing last month, that a pathologist report concluded that Mr Moloney died from a blow or impact to the side of the neck which cut a vertebral artery and caused a “subarachnoid haemorrhage” at the base of his skull.
But the judge also noted the two men were strangers and said late night assaults fuelled by drink are all too common. She said the courts had a role to play in deterrence of this.
She said: “Getting drunk or drugged and then engaging in violence cannot continue. Discharging people who are intoxicated all together on the public pathways is a recipe for disaster”.
She said the attack was gratuitous and that Mr Moloney was accosted verbally before Burch intervened with the use of force.
She said Burch’s action immediately after the assault was a feature of self congratulatory behaviour seen in other assaults. But she accepted that his later self disgust was sincere.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was shown CCTV footage of the incident in which Burch can be seen dancing and patting a man on the back after he delivered, what one witness described as “a cheap shot” and “a rubbish punch”.
Burch was arrested at his home the day after the attack after ATM records, CCTV footage and witness statements led to his nomination as a suspect.
He told gardaí Mr Moloney had charged at him and had taken an aggressive stance before he said he hit him once to the right-hand side of the head.
Burch said he was “of course bothered” by the fact that someone had died. He said it was “a moment of craziness” and said he was “disgusted”. When shown the CCTV footage he described it as “horrible”.
Burch became upset during the final three interviews of his six interviews with gardaí.
He said he had not helped the victim because he didn’t realise how serious it was and he didn’t think the punch was enough to kill him.