Gardaí believe man killed in one-punch attack outside Bray hotel

Assault on victim who was staying at Royal Hotel in the town was captured on CCTV

Gardaí investigating the death of a man from head injuries believe he was the victim of a one-punch assault in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Informed sources said while the investigation into the death of Vincent Kelly (45) in Bray, Co Wicklow, was still in its early stages , they are following a definite line of investigation.

The attack outside the Royal Hotel in the town was captured on CCTV. The dead man, a separated father of several young children, is believed to have been staying at the hotel.

Mr Kelly was originally from Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.


It is unclear what caused the altercation that escalated into this fatality. However, investigating gardaí believe they know the identity of those on the scene at the time the fatal blow was struck. Detectives are hopeful of an early breakthrough.

But the same sources said the precise cause of death, and the manner in which the victim's injuries were sustained, would only be confirmed after a postmortemwas carried out by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis.

That examination was expected to be completed by late on Sunday, at which point a decision was expected to be made to upgrade the investigation to a murder inquiry.

Paramedics on scene

Mr Kelly was found unconscious on Main Street, Bray, at about 2am. Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene outside the Royal Hotel. The victim was treated by paramedics at the scene in an effort to stabilise his condition before being transferred to hospital.

He was taken to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital but pronounced dead in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The scene was sealed off to facilitate a forensic examination and gardaí appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to contact Bray Garda station.

Devastating consequences

If Saturday morning’s attack is confirmed as a one-punch killing it would be the latest in a series of such homicides in the Republic in recent years.

A campaign was recently launched to encourage young men, especially after they had consumed alcohol, not to use physical force as even one blow could have devastating consequences.

Chief Supt Aidan Glacken from the Sligo-Leitrim division in April launched of a video promoting the "Use your Brain, Not Your Fists" message.

Among those attending the launch in Carrick on Shannon were Joe and Rosie Dolan who lost their son Andrew following an unprovoked assault six years ago.

It was the second time in five days a killing had taken place in the town. Last Tuesday morning, in an unrelated attack, a gunman burst into Bray Boxing Club and killed 50-year-old Bobby Messett. The intended target, boxing coach Pete Taylor (57) and another man were wounded but survived.

Gardaí believe Mr Taylor was targetted as part of a personal dispute.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times