Waterford musician died from blunt force trauma to the head

Inquest hears details of fatal injury to Damien O’Brien (28)

Damien O’Brien was a keyboard player with Waterford rock band Chimpanbee. Photograph: Chimpanbee Facebook

A young musician died from serious head injuries in hospital a week after an assault in Waterford city centre, an inquest into the man’s death has heard.

Damien O’Brien (28), the keyboard player with Waterford band, Chimpanbee, died at Cork University Hospital on July 13th 2018, having been transferred there from University Hospital Waterford.

Mr O’Brien from Fahee, Kilmacow, Co Kilkenny had suffered serious head injuries when he was assaulted at the junction of John Street and the Manor in Waterford city centre early on July 7th.

On Thursday at Cork City Coroner’s Court, Coroner Philip Comyn heard that Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Linda Mulligan conducted a post-mortem examination on July 14th 2018.


Dr Mulligan established that the cause of death was brain stem haemorrhage due to cerebral oedema and traumatic brain injury due to blunt force trauma to the head.

Insp Conor Dillon said gardaí had investigated Mr O’Brien’s death and criminal proceedings had been initiated and a man was currently before the courts in relation to Mr O’Brien’s death.

He applied for an adjournment under Section 25 of the Coroner’s Act to allow the criminal proceedings conclude and Mr Comyn granted the application and adjourned the matter for mention until September 26th.

Last month, Craig McGrath (25) from Rathfaddan Park in Waterford city pleaded guilty at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court to the manslaughter of Mr O’Brien in Waterford on July 7th 2018.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly agreed to an application by defence counsel, Mary Rose Gearty SC for an adjournment until May 24th when McGrath will return to Waterford Circuit Criminal Court for sentence.

Last July, Mr O’Brien’s friends in Chimpanbee posted a poignant message on their Facebook page in which they paid tribute to their “brother, friend and prodigal son behind the keys, Damien O’Brien”.

“Thank you for the music, brother. Rest in peace now,” the band said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times