Homeless man died after being stuffed down a rubbish chute, court hears

David O’Loughlin (Pic: RTE)
David O’Loughlin (Pic: RTE)

A homeless alcoholic met a gruesome death when assaulted and shoved down the rubbish chute of a city centre apartment complex after a row following a marathon drinking spree.

The State claimed that David O'Loughlin (27) dragged Liam Manley (59) out of his Cork apartment, punched him, shoved him down the metal rubbish chute and then told another person in the flat:

"The man was down the drain."

In opening the murder trial before the Central Criminal Court, Sean Gillane SC, for the State, said that Mr Manley died from asphyxia while trapped in the metal chute.

By the time his body was found by a maintenance worker investigating complaints from apartment residents about the rubbish chute being blocked, Mr Manley's body was in an advanced state of decomposition due to the duct environment.

O’Loughlin has denied the murder of Mr Manley on May 12 2013 in a Cork city centre apartment complex.

Mr Gillane said that O'Loughlin of Apartment 10, Garden City Apartments-North Gate House, Cork did not previously know Mr Manley.

He said the State will introduce evidence to show that both men had been drinking separately over the weekend of May 10-12.

They met shortly after 4am on May 12 and both entered the Garden City complex at 4.22am.

A friend of O'Loughlin's, David O'Mahony, later entered Apartment 10 and spotted Mr Manley who he did not know.

Mr Gillane said that Mr O'Mahony will describe Mr Manley as "older and quiet".

"Almost immediately on his entering the apartment a verbal attack began on the deceased by the accused and that quickly escalated into a physical assault on the deceased."

"The deceased looked frightened."

Mr Gillane said the State will claim Mr Manley was punched before the accused dragged him out of the flat.

Mr O'Mahony became concerned and attempted to intercede.

"He asked Mr O'Loughlin to stop - but he told him to 'shut up and sit down.' The deceased was then dragged out of the apartment."

Mr Gillane said Mr O'Mahony then heard "the shutting of a steel door."

It is the State's case this was the sound of the refuse chute shutters closing.

Mr Gillane said that when the defendant re-entered his flat alone he told Mr O'Mahony:

"The man was down the drain."

Mr O'Mahony did not believe him.

Later, two young women entered the flat for drinks.

Mr Gillane said this was at 8.16am and it is the State's case that Mr Manley met his death sometime between 6.04am and then.

He added that the defendant told the two women:

"He had put someone in a chute."

One of the women "thought he was talking crap."

Apartment complex maintenance official, Michael Ford, was notified on Monday (May 13) about a rubbish chute being blocked.

He used rods to free the blockage and, when he spotted red liquid, initially thought it was sauce from a leftover meal.

However, he then realised it was blood and discovered Mr Manley's body at the bottom of the chute.

Mr Gillane said Mr Manley died from mechanical asphyxia as he was trapped in the chute with rubbish above and below him.

He also said Mr Manley had made desperate attempts to prevent himself from being shoved into the chute.

Mr Manley had been homeless for over 25 years and was a frequent resident of various Cork Simon shelters.

He had worked as a young man but "as he got older became a stranger to luck. He developed an alcohol problem and got to depend on the Simon Community."

He was originally from Baker's Road in Gurranabraher.

The trial before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven women and five men is expected to last for three weeks.

Irish Independent