Dale Creighton murder trial hears details of 'vicious attack'
The jury in the trial of seven Dubliners charged with murdering a 20-year-old on a footbridge has seen footage of what the prosecutor described as a ‘vicious, prolonged and sustained attack’ involving kicks and stamps to his head and body, after which he was thrown ‘like a rag doll’.
The jury also heard from a witness, who said she saw a young man being chased onto the bridge, where six or seven individuals surrounded, kicked and punched him.
The evidence was presented to the jury today on the first day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court.
The woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.
Dale Creighton died on January 2nd 2014, about two days after an incident at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road.
Charged with his murder at the footbridge are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath.
Also charged with Mr Creighton’s murder there are Graham Palmer (26) with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) currently of Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a’ Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) currently of Grosvner Square, Rathmines in Dublin.
Each accused also pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge that New Year’s Day.
Seán Gillane SC opened the case for the prosecution, saying that each of the accused was responsible for the attack on Dale Creighton, that they had acted together and that ‘the intention had to be to cause serious injury, if not death’.
Mr Gillane said that the event began around 4am on New Year’s Day, when a girl was heard shouting that her phone was ‘being robbed’.
“Someone shouted: ‘Grab him’ and a young man was pursued by a number of people,” said Mr Gillane, explaining that this young man was Mr Creighton
He said CCTV cameras had captured part of the incident on the footbridge, where he said all were present.
“You’ll be satisfied that Dale Creighton was the subject of a vicious, prolonged, sustained attack and absolutely satisfied that this involved kicks and stamps to the head and body,” he said.
“You’ll be satisfied that sustained attack, in its entirety, occurred while Mr Creighton was on the ground, not only not defending himself, but defenceless and, at one point, off the ground because he was being held up while the subject of blows and kicks,” he continued.
“Then, like a rag doll, (he was) dragged to the steps and thrown down the steps, being remonstrated with and shouted at,” he said, adding that Mr Creighton was then picked up and brought back to the bridge and put on the ground again.
“The violence visited upon him was… intensive, concentrated and very focussed,” he suggested. “The intention had to be to cause serious injury, if not death.”
He said that this violence did not end until the gardai arrived.
“The accused ran off, leaving Mr Creighton figuratively and literally for dead,” he said.
He explained that Mr Creighton was unresponsive and taken to Tallaght Hospital from where he was transferred to Beaumont Hospital. However, he never recovered and was pronounced dead on January 2nd.
“An autopsy revealed a constellation of injuries all over his body,” he said.
His skull was fractured and nasal bones broken; his cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and face.
“The prosecution case is that the accused, and each of them, are responsible for this, that they acted together in support of each other… with intent to cause at least serious injury,” he concluded.
The jury was then shown a compilation of the footage that Mr Gillane had mentioned. It captured what happened between 3.48am and 4.10am and was played without commentary.
The jury also heard from three locals, who had alerted gardai to the incident.
One of these, Síle McCarthy, testified that she heard screaming and shouting at the footbridge around 3.30am. She looked out and saw a young man being punched at the bottom of the bridge.
“He ran up the steps,” she said, recalling that a group of six or seven people then surrounded him.
“They were all surronding him, kicking and punching him into the head and body,” she said.
He collapsed on the bridge and wasn’t moving.
She added that two of the men were holding onto railings while kicking him.
“The police arrived. Two of them jumped over the bridge,” she recalled. “Some of them ran.”
The trial continues before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of six women and six men. It is expected to last about six weeks.
By Natasha Reid