Kildare man faces prison for assaulting ‘gentle’ man who later died

Construction worker Paul Gill pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Patrick Kelly

Construction worker Paul Gill pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the deceased Patrick ‘Patsy’ Kelly (58) and his former neighbour, Martin Curtis in August 2015. Photograph: Frank Miller

Construction worker Paul Gill pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the deceased Patrick ‘Patsy’ Kelly (58) and his former neighbour, Martin Curtis in August 2015. Photograph: Frank Miller

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A judge has said a prison term is “inevitable” for a father-of-five who admitted assaulting a “popular, gentle” man who later died.

Construction worker Paul Gill (37), formerly of Sarto Road, Naas, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the deceased Patrick ‘Patsy’ Kelly (58) and his former neighbour, Martin Curtis, on August 22nd, 2015.

Mr Gill pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Mr Kelly during the same incident and was acquitted of manslaughter after a six-day trial last month.

The jury heard evidence that the row was over late-night drinking and noise at Mr Curtis’s home on Sarto Road spanning seven years.

Det Garda Enda Coleman said eyewitnesses in the case had described seeing Mr Gill confront the deceased outside Mr Curtis’s house that night and punch him in the face.

Mr Gill then dragged Mr Kelly up to eight metres from Mr Curtis’s front door to the road and kicked him once in the head.

The detective told Orla Crowe SC, prosecuting, that Mr Gill attacked Mr Curtis when he arrived on the scene.

Emergency services arrived and administered continuous CPR to Mr Kelly, but he died. Postmortem evidence in the trial revealed Mr Kelly died from heart disease and that the minor trauma from the assault was one of the contributing factors.

Det Garda Coleman told Ms Crowe that Mr Kelly was a “popular, gentle person who was very well liked” and known in the town.

He said Mr Gill has eight previous convictions, including one for a minor assault in 2000.

The detective agreed with Séamus Clarke SC, defending, that Mr Gill was visibly upset in interview after arrest. He agreed that Mr Gill had a vague recollection of what had happened because he had been drinking but that he had answered all questions and admitted to the assaults.

In her victim-impact statement, Mr Kelly’s sister said her family have been left with deep psychological scars. Bernadette Kelly described her deceased brother as “kind and caring and extremely thoughtful” and said she still sets a place for him at her table at Christmas time.

She finished her statement saying: “No one has the right to take the law into their own hands”.

Mr Clarke asked Judge Melanie Greally to be lenient on his client, taking into account that Mr Gill has also been “distressed and traumatised” by what has happened.

He submitted that Mr Gill is a hardworking man who has had difficulties and tragedy in his own background. Ms Greally remanded Mr Gill on continuing bail and put the matter back for sentence to next Monday.

She warned Mr Clarke that some form of custodial element was an “inevitability”.

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