Man ‘beaten to pulp’ and stripped after cigarette row, trial told
Anthony Walsh (31) admits killing Dermot Byrne but pleads not guilty to Swords murder
Man has also pleaded guilty to stealing a bank card, keys and a lighter from Dermot Byrne (pictured) in Swords, Co Dublin
A 54-year-old man was “savagely beaten to a pulp” and stripped of his clothes following a drunken row over a cigarette, a barrister has told a murder trial.
Vincent Heneghan SC opened the trial of Anthony Walsh (31) who has admitted killing but pleaded not guilty to the murder of Dermot Byrne on July 16, 2017 at North St, Swords, Co Dublin.
He also pleaded guilty to stealing a bank card, keys and a lighter from Mr Byrne on the same date and at the same location.
Outlining the prosecution case, Mr Heneghan said the deceased, a father of three, spent time that evening at St Colmcille’s GAA club and then went to the Estuary Bar for one or two pints.
He was then seen at a bookmakers before returning to the Estuary. At 1am he left carrying a pint glass and went to the Harp Bar but was refused entry. He went to a nearby Apple Green garage where he attempted to purchase cigarettes. He was there for about 30 minutes in a “highly intoxicated state”.
The accused had been out with friends in the Manor Pub which he left at about midnight and took a taxi to the Harp Bar. He was asked to leave after a glass was broken and there was an allegation that he was aggressive with door staff.
His friends tried to convince him to get a taxi home but at 2.10am the accused and deceased met for the first time outside the Harp Bar where CCTV footage showed Mr Byrne attempting to pull a cigarette from the accused man’s mouth.
Mr Walsh’s friends convinced him to walk away and a short time later Mr Byrne followed him. Security staff then pulled Mr Byrne away and held him until the accused had left the area. CCTV further along the street shows that the accused had an altercation with one of his friends.
At 2.14am Mr Byrne walked towards Main St, in the same direction as the accused. The CCTV does not show what happened next and there are no witnesses to how Mr Byrne died, but at 2.50am a retired garda discovered the body. Mr Byrne had been stripped of his clothes and was surrounded by blood. Emergency services were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced dead at 6.20am.
Following the fatal row the accused got into a taxi carrying a black holdall and went to an apartment on Cabra Road. The following morning he travelled to Blanchardstown where he met his parents and told them he was in trouble. He was crying and confessed to killing someone.
He was later seen at a pub in Tallaght where he told a female that he had been in a fight and the other person was dead. He took a taxi to his parents house, arriving at 8.20pm. Gardai, who had been speaking to Mr Walsh’s mother, arrived also. Mr Walsh admitted certain things about what had happened and when gardai checked his holdall they found the ATM card, lighter and keys belonging to the deceased. He later gave his version of events to gardai at Swords Garda Station.
Mr Heneghan said a pathologist will detail more than 100 injuries including fractures to facial bones, fractured ribs, and bruising to the face and scalp. He died from traumatic brain injuries complicated by acute intoxication and the inhalation of blood. Mr Heneghan said the deceased was “savagely beaten to a pulp by the accused and that beating amounts to murder”.
Fiona Pekaar BL, for the accused, said her client admits that he unlawfully killed Dermot Byrne and that he removed his clothing and property. The jury of six men and six women has been viewing CCTV footage showing the movements of the two men on the night.
The trial continues in front of Justice Eileen Creedon.