Louth man jailed for killing teenager


A Louth man who killed a teenager in Dundalk over two years ago after he attacked, punched and kicked the youth “like a rag doll” bouncing his head off a road several times has been sentenced to 16 years with the final three suspended.

Unemployed father of three Douglas Ward (36), Loughantarve, Knockbridge, Co Louth, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Niall Dorr on October 13th, 2010, at the Central Criminal Court on the morning of his trial, on October 30th.

Aggravating feature

Mr Justice Paul Carney said that alcohol did not afford a defence and that an aggravating feature was that Ward had killed Mr Dorr that morning while he was in Dundalk answering a bail hearing.

The court had heard that a number of 999 calls were made at about 9pm stating a young man was unconscious on the footpath on Castle Road, partially dressed and underneath a parked car.

The teenager was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda where his condition deteriorated rapidly. He was transferred to Beaumont Hospital where it was discovered he had irrecoverable brain damage and surgical intervention was not possible.

The court heard Ward, who had been drinking all day after his court hearing, was with four men and two women who were trying to gain access to a house party at Castle Road when Mr Dorr and his two friends were walking by making their way home.

Det Garda Pat Marry told Brendan Grehan SC, prosecuting, that an incident at a fairground the previous night, in which Mr Dorr and Ward were not involved, may have sparked the row between the groups.

“It was a chance encounter between the groups,” Det Garda Marry said. “During the fracas, Mr Dorr became isolated with Mr Ward and he was assaulted in a very violent fashion. Mr Dorr was trying to keep the peace.”

Ward constantly denied to gardaí he was at the scene, despite his DNA being found on a cigarette at the scene and his DNA on Mr Dorr’s T-shirt.

After the incident, Ward and another man got a taxi to an off-licence where they bought more alcohol and returned to his home.

Head trauma

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said Mr Dorr died as a result of head trauma and a fracture to the skull which caused haemorrhaging. She noted a zig-zag pattern on Mr Dorr’s forehead which she concluded he was “struck with an object of pattern such as a shoe in a stamping motion.”

In a statement after the sentencing of Ward, Mr Dorr’s father David, mother Veronica and brother Shane, said “nothing can ever bring Niall back or take away the pain and suffering which we have endured since that terrible night”.

Mr Dorr said that this week was the first time they had heard the full story of what had happened to Niall.

Mr Justice Carney suspended the final three years of the sentence, he ordered Ward to undergo 18 months post-release supervision and to keep away from the Dorr family.