Woman tells murder trial of seeing former partner kicking and punching his father
Mark Tims pleads guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder of his father
Elizabeth ‘Lil’ McDonagh told court, ‘Mark just jumped out of the chair and headlocked him and gave him two digs to the face and he fell to the ground’. Photograph: Collins Courts
A woman has described seeing her former partner kicking and punching his elderly father to death after the pensioner returned home following his 74th birthday celebrations.
Elizabeth “Lil” McDonagh said a row erupted over a burnt breakfast and Anthony Tims told his son he was a “disappointment” and he wished he’d never been born before the accused man Mark Tims, who was “in a rage”, put his father in a headlock, punched him twice in the head and kicked him when he fell to the ground.
Ms McDonagh was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday in the trial of her former partner Mark Tims (48) who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to the murder of his father Anthony “Tony” Tims at the home they shared at Rowlagh Green, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on July 13th, 2018.
Ms McDonagh told prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC that she went out with the accused man for about 10 years. She was also a carer for Anthony Tims who had health problems including a difficulty in breathing.
Mark lived with his father, she said, and both men were “fond of the drink”. She described the relationship between father and son as “like cat and dog”, explaining that they often argued.
On the morning before Mr Tims died Ms McDonagh went to Rowlagh Green to cook breakfast for the two men but Anthony Tims had already cooked it. Mark complained that the food was burnt and he wouldn’t eat it. “He had a bad attitude,” she said.
That afternoon she went shopping with Anthony Tims and he went to Finche’s pub in Clondalkin to celebrate his 74th birthday. Mark Tims spent the day at home drinking cans of Guinness and playing games in his room. Anthony Tims returned home at about 8pm and told the witness he had a “great day in the bookies” and that people in the pub had bought him drinks for his birthday.
She said Mark made a joke about his breakfast being “cremated” and, “out of the blue”, Anthony told him to get out of the house and threatened to call the guards. She said this was something Anthony would often say when they argued.
She said: “Mark just jumped out of the chair and headlocked him and gave him two digs to the face and he fell to the ground.” She described Mark kicking his father in the chest and head and added: “I was begging him to stop but he wouldn’t stop.”
She said the older man asked her to “please help me”. She said: “I tried to help but I couldn’t. He was too strong.”
She went next door and asked the neighbours to call the guards because, she said, she knew Mark had gone too far. When she returned to the house Anthony was on the floor in the kitchen. Before leaving on his bike, she said Mark came back to the kitchen and kicked his father another two times in the chest. An ambulance arrived a short time later but Ms McDonagh said she knew he was already dead.
On Tuesday morning, prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney SC opening the trial, told the jury that he is confident the evidence will show that the accused man “assaulted his father in a vicious and sustained manner that led to his death.”
After the assault, Mr Tims was taken to Tallaght Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 10pm that night. A post mortem would show that he suffered multiple fractured ribs which caused air to enter his chest and led to both his lungs collapsing, causing his death.
Meanwhile, Mr Delaney said, the accused man met a friend on the street near Rowlagh Green and spoke to him about what had happened. Together they went to an off-licence and bought a “substantial amount of alcohol” which they drank at a nearby green area. The accused man remained in that area for nearly 24 hours until he was found by a garda search party the following evening at about 8pm “hiding in some undergrowth”. Mr Delaney said the accused knew his father had died because he was in phone contact with family members. During four interviews at a garda station he admitted assaulting his father although Mr Delaney said some of the details of his account may differ from the account given by counsel.
Mr Delaney further explained to the jury that Mr Tims has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and therefore accepts he is responsible for the unlawful killing of his father. He said that the issue the jury will most likely have to look into is Mark Tims’s state of mind at the time of the assault and, in particular, whether he intended to kill or cause serious injury to his father.
The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt and the jury of seven women and five men.