Galway publican’s daughter says Romanian men killed him

Gillian Kenny gives evidence during trial of Marian Lingurar jnr (24) for manslaughter

Marian Lingurar jnr outside Galway Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Hany Marzouk

Marian Lingurar jnr outside Galway Circuit Criminal Court. Photograph: Hany Marzouk


The daughter of a Galway publican and teacher who was found dead in his bar seven years ago has told a jury she believes a group of Romanian men killed her father.

Gillian Kenny was giving evidence at Galway Circuit Criminal Court during the trial of Marian Lingurar jnr (24), who denies the manslaughter of John Kenny (56), at Kenny’s Pub, Main Street, Oughterard, on September 25th, 2011.

He also denies a charge of burglary by trespassing at Mr Kenny’s pub with intent to commit theft on the same date.

Opening the evidence in the trial on Wednesday, Patrick Gageby SC, prosecuting, told the jury of four women and eight men that Mr Kenny had been left the family pub by his late mother and, following an amicable separation from his wife, Kathleen, he moved in there to live.

The couple remained friends and were devoted to their daughter, Gillian. He said Mr Kenny was held in very high regard at Presentation College, Athenry, where he had taught for many years, and he regularly opened the pub only at weekends.

Mr Gageby said a man named Florin Fitzpatrick, who was acquainted with the accused, and his father, Marian Lingurar snr, worked in the pub at weekends. He said that on the evening before Mr Kenny’s death, the accused, who was 16 at the time, was acting as a bouncer.

Earlier that evening, Mr Lingurar snr had driven his son from their home in Claregalway, to work with Mr Fitzpatrick. He returned later to bring them home. At about 1.30am, he drove the accused and Mr Fitzpatrick home.

‘Worse for wear’

Mr Gageby said Mr Kenny – who was a “bit the worse for wear” – was left in the pub. The next morning, a man found a phone broken on the footpath across the road from the pub and left it on a ledge.

A local businessman picked it up and dialled the last number which had been used. Gillian Kenny answered, thinking her father was ringing her. She and her mother had been trying to contact him and were getting worried when he had not phoned them as usual.

The man explained he had found the broken phone and the women went to the bar. The front door of the pub was open. They asked a passerby, Myles Upton, to come into the pub with them.

Mr Upton told the trial he noticed a chair had been wedged under the handle on the ladies’ toilet door, preventing anyone from opening it from the inside. He took the chair away and found Mr Kenny’s body lying on the floor.

He didn’t die from a heart attack. He died because he was attacked, beaten, injured and left to die in the toilet of the family bar

He was lying face down with his hands tied behind his back with cable.

A postmortem revealed Mr Kenny had suffered extensive injuries to his head, neck and trunk, both front and back. Multiple fractures were found, front and back, consistent with blows from a large object or kicks.

“He didn’t die from a heart attack. He died because he was attacked, beaten, injured and left to die in the toilet of the family bar,” Mr Gageby told jurors.

He said it was the prosecution’s case that the accused, having got a lift home with his father, returned to Oughterard at 2.20am and stayed there for 40 minutes. “It’s our contention that the defendant returned to Oughterard and the only one inference we can draw from that is the desire to steal from the premises and from John Kenny and for that purpose, visit an assault on John Kenny,” Mr Gageby said.

In fear

Kathleen and Gillian Kenny confirmed Mr Kenny always carried cash in his pockets, which he would take from the till on the nights it was open. They said he had been in fear of Florin Fitzpatrick.

They said the deceased had always been a kind, warm, fun-loving person but in the weeks leading up to his death something had been troubling him and he had been tearful and withdrawn.

Kathleen Kenny said he told her that Mr Fitzpatrick and the other Romanian men were keeping him prisoner and that they had taken over the pub and he had no control over them.

During cross-examination by Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, who put it to her that she had told gardaí in her statement seven years ago that she believed Florin Fitzpatrick was to blame for her father’s death, Gillian Kenny said her father was upset for a long time that he had been using him but he did not want to talk about it.

“Everything said and unsaid will haunt me forever,” she said.

“[Florin] would not have done anything to my father himself and he brought people to do his dirty work. He brought other Romanians out to the pub,” she said. “He was the person responsible. My father was made bits of. His injuries shattered every bone in his body.”

The court heard Mr Fitzpatrick had served five years for withholding information in the case while Marian Lingurar snr had been sentenced to four years for the same offence. A charge of manslaughter had been withdrawn against him.

The trial continues.