Six jailed over death of Dale Creighton in Tallaght
Five men jailed for manslaughter and woman sentenced to a year for violent disorder
Gardaí at scene of the assault: following an allegation he had stolen a woman’s phone, Mr Creighton was “marched up the steps onto the footbridge and mercilessly kicked and beaten” in “a kangaroo court”. Photograph: Collins
Five Dublin men have been jailed for between three and 7½ years for killing a man in Tallaght on New Year’s Day three years ago.
A woman was jailed for one year for violent disorder during the attack and another man received a suspended sentence for possession of a knife at the scene.
Dale Creighton (20) was assaulted at a footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between St Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road in the early hours of January 1st, 2014.
He died in hospital the following day. The cause of his death was blunt-force injury to his head and face.
Six men and one woman were originally charged with murder and went on trial at the Central Criminal Court in October after pleading not guilty. Those charges were dropped on the 15th day of the trial, after they pleaded guilty to lesser charges and had their new pleas accepted.
The seven accused, who are from Tallaght, had all rung in the new year in a local night club.
They are Aisling Burke (23) and David Burke (28), both with an address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26) with an address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) of Gortlum Cottages, Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a’ Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.
They were all back before the court for sentencing on Monday.
Vicious assault caught on CCTV
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said they were not evil or even bad people but described the fatal assault as prolonged and vicious. She noted that, following an allegation that he had stolen Aisling Burke’s phone, Mr Creighton was “marched up the steps onto the footbridge and mercilessly kicked and beaten” and in “a kangaroo court”.
Some of the assault was caught on CCTV. “Not one of the young people shouted stop,” she said.
She said that it would be of comfort to society had such a crime been committed by people with a known or proven propensity for violence. However, these were “all pretty normal, average young people”.
She said this was particularly frightening for society. “Rough justice is no justice,” she said. “No one is entitled to take the law into their own hands. Our society is governed by the rule of law.”
Dale Creighton’s life had been brutally ended and each of the seven must now answer for their actions, she said.
Victim unrecognisable by family
The judge said the prolonged nature of the 14-minute attack, the severity of the beating inflicted by multiple parties and the fact Mr Creighton was unrecognisable to his family when summoned to his bedside all placed this on the higher end of the assault manslaughter scale.
Graham Palmer, Ross Callery, Gerard Stevens, Jason Beresford and David Burke had changed their pleas to guilty of manslaughter and were sentenced on Monday morning.
Palmer, a father-of-one, was first to be sentenced and was jailed for five years. Callery received a six-year jail term. David Burke received the longest jail term, at 7½ years. Stephens received the shortest term, at three years. Beresford, the youngest of the five killers, was jailed for six years.
Aisling Burke, a mother of one, pleaded guilty to violent disorder. The judge said she would impose a five-year sentence, with the last four years suspended for two years. She adjourned imposing the sentence for a week to give the single mother time to arrange childcare.
James Reid had pleaded guilty to possession of a knife. The judge noted that he had not brought the weapon to the scene and had not used it. She imposed a two-year sentence, which she suspended fully.