Murder trial of man accused of killing father in Waterford

Pair had been out for night together before altercation when son was locked out of house

Michael Delaney SC told the jury they must decide whether there was “an intent to either kill or cause serious injury”.

Michael Delaney SC told the jury they must decide whether there was “an intent to either kill or cause serious injury”.

 

A man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his father in Portlaw, Co Waterford last year. Stephen Butler appeared before the Central Criminal Court in Waterford on Monday morning.

John Butler died following an altercation in the early hours of Saturday 11th January last year.

The 48-year-old was found inside the hallway of his house on Brown Street in Portlaw and attempts to resuscitate him by onlookers were unsuccessful.

His son Stephen Butler, with an address at Shielbaggan, Ramsgrange, Co Wexford, is charged with his murder.

The 23-year-old, who appeared in court wearing a navy suit, white short and patterned tie, told the court today that he was pleading not guilty to the charge of murder, but said he does plead guilty to manslaughter.

Prosecutor Michael Delaney SC told the jury they must decide whether there was “an intent to either kill or cause serious injury” on Stephen Butler’s part, adding that any attack does not have to be premeditated.

The two, who witnesses said were often taking “sly digs” at each other, later went home where the older man locked his son out of the house.

Stephen Butler was seen kicking at the door while John tried to keep him out, and minutes afterwards Stephen Butler was “repeatedly punching” his father in the head until he collapsed in the hallway of his home, the court was told.

Stephen Butler left the scene and was later found near the River Clodiagh by his mother, Lisa Kelly, who had received a call from her ex-husband John. Ms Kelly travelled from Wexford that night following the phone call and her son eventually returned to the scene after 4am.

He was initially charged with assault causing harm but this was later upgraded to murder.

John Butler suffered multiple lacerations and a dissected blood vessel which caused an injury akin to a stroke, Mr Delaney told the jury.

Tony McGrath, from Beechwood Grove, Portlaw, who came upon the scene, told the court he held John Butler’s hand as he lay in the hallway.

Mr McGrath and a friend found he had no pulse, and tried to resuscitate him with a defibrillator but to no avail. An ambulance later brought him to University Hospital Waterford where he was pronounced dead.

Mr McGrath said he had seen Stephen Butler sitting on the street outside the home late at night having been locked out on at least two prior occasions, while the jury heard numerous remarks describing the interactions between father and son at the house in the minutes leading up the physical confrontation.

Shannon O’Donoghue said Stephen Butler was in a “frantic” state outside the Browns Street home when she was leaving.

He could be heard saying “Come out and fight me” while outside the home, Michael Delaney told the jury in his initial outline of elements of the case.

Ms Donoghue had told gardaí­ she heard John Butler telling her Stephen “You’re no son of mine”, while Stephen Butler was also heard saying, “I only want to go to bed”.

The trial continues on Tuesday and is expected to last two weeks.