Man gets suspended term for manslaughter


An Englishman has received a 12-year suspended sentence for beating a homeless man to death with a golf club in Cork city last September.

Peter Nugent (38) from Jesper's Hill, Farringdon, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty in Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to the manslaughter of Mr Michael Kelly (43), a resident of Cork Simon Community.

Nugent had travelled to Cork for a stag party last September 22nd.

Later that evening, he became separated from the group of about 20 revellers and fell to the ground, intoxicated, at Albert Quay.

Nugent met Mr Kelly and another man and gave them some money.

He claimed the two men robbed his wallet and assaulted him. Nugent later reported the assault to gardai.

The next morning, Nugent went drinking with his friends. At 5.30 p.m., he decided to find the men who robbed him the night before to get his wallet back.

He borrowed a golf club from a friend and at 6 p.m. found Mr Kelly sleeping under blankets on Albert Quay.

He started hitting him with the club and pushed him into the River Lee. Mr Kelly was unable to swim. All efforts to resuscitate him failed. Garda divers later recovered the golf club.

Nugent was arrested the following morning.

Judge A.G. Murphy said Nugent would be affected by the events of that evening for the rest of his life.

He said it was "a difficult case to adjudicate on" and noted that it was important to show the "abhorrence of society" for the crime.

Nugent has spent the last month in Cork Prison awaiting sentencing and had been attacked by a fellow prisoner. Judge Murphy said it would be "inhuman" to make Nugent, who has no previous convictions, spend more time in prison in a foreign country.

He said there were extenuating circumstances in the case, including Nugent's previous good character, and imposed a 12-year suspended sentence. Nugent agreed not to enter Ireland during that time.

He expressed remorse for his crime and is said to have suffered from depression following the incident.