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Taekwon-do trainer begs for forgiveness after one-punch death tragedy

NewsBy Patrick O'Connell
Jonathan Dargan
Jonathan Dargan

THE TAEKWON-DO trainer arrested over the assault that led to the death of 57-year-old Paddy Mullally has begged the dead man's family for forgiveness.

Guinness brewery worker Paddy passed away on Sunday morning, just over 24 hours after he had intervened in a row between the martial arts expert and his girlfriend.

During the fracas, Mr Mullally was struck by Jonathan Dargan, before fall­ing and hitting his head on the ground.

Jonathan – a former training partner of UFC champion Conor McGregor – this week told the Sunday World: "I'm so sorry... it was an accident. I'm devastated and heartbroken for that man and his family – all I can say is I'm crushed.

"If I could take back everything that happened that night I would, but all I can do is beg his family for their forgiveness.

"It was a genuine mistake."

Jonathan was also touched by tragedy when his mother Mary was shot dead two years ago. Friends fear he was in a dark place as he went home from last Saturday's Adele concert with his girlfriend, as Mother's Day brought back difficult memories.

Paddy was walking home from Peggy Kelly's pub, after dropping in for a pint following his retirement party, when he happened upon a row between Jonathan and his girlfriend outside the Park View Court Apartments in Harold's Cross at 4am on Saturday.

We can today reveal how Jonathan confirmed to the Gardai how he had lashed out without thought at three men as they tried to drag him away from his girlfriend.

Tragically, this lead to Paddy falling to the ground and striking his head.

Gardai are now satisfied that the fall resulted in the horrific head injuries that forced doctors to place Paddy on life support upon his arrival at St James's Hospital, where he lost his battle for life some 24 hours later.

Approached outside his home in south Dublin on Thursday, a heartbroken Jonathan – who has no previous convictions and teaches Taekwon-do to children at the Presentation Primary School in Terenure – said no words could express his heartbreak.

We have also learned that Jonathan knew nothing of the devastating consequences of the row until the early hours of Sunday morning, when he turned himself in to gardai outside a petrol station on the N81.

Sources close to Jonathan told how a rare night out with his girlfriend turned sour in the early hours of the morning when he was approached in Lillie's Bordello and the issue of his mother's horrific killing was raised.

Mary Dargan was shot dead in her Tallaght home in March 2014, while his sister Karina was shot in the face in the same incident. A man is currently before the courts in connection with the shooting.

"Jonathan had a few drinks at the concert and he and his partner then went to Lillie's," the source said.

"At some point in the night another person in the group started speaking to Jonathan about his mother's death. That put him in a dark place, as Mother's Day was the next day.

"Unfortunately, he kept drinking and got excessively drunk."

Jonathan left Lillie's and got into his car, which earlier in the night he had parked up with the intention of leaving it in town.

"His girlfriend was pleading with him not to drive, but he was too far gone to listen. It was 3.30am and Jonathan had been drinking since 8pm. The argument continued until he pulled over in Harold's Cross and she got out of the vehicle. He pulled over and went back to try and convince her to get in the car," the source said.

"He could see very little at that stage because he had knocked off his glasses and he's blind as a bat without them.

"But he found her at a bus stop and began arguing with her again."

The Sunday World understands Jonathan told Gardai that the couple were first approached by a man on a bike who asked: "What the f**k is going on here?"

"Jonathan told him to f**k off... that it was a domestic and to leave them alone," said our source. "The next thing he recalls is that there were two or three men around him.

"Jonathan told them to f**k off as well. He told friends that at that point he felt it was just going to kick off. He says he hit one guy and and there was a row with a second man, before another person tried to drag him away. Jonathan says he thinks he got out of that and then he punched him [Paddy].

"He grabbed his girlfriend and went back to the car," the source added. "He didn't know at that stage he'd knocked anyone down. He was really drunk and he has only four per cent vision in his left eye. He doesn't remember getting home."

The source said Jonathan woke up with only a fleeting recollection of some kind of fight. The next night he went to work as normal at Lillie's Bordello – where he has worked as a doorman for the last 20 years.

"He watched the Conor McGregor fight and at some stage he saw an article about the man injured the previous evening in Harold's Cross," said our source.

After leaving work, Jonathan drove home on the N81 before stopping at a garage, when a Garda car pulled in.

"The gardai got out and said they were making inquiries about silver cars that had been in the area the night before. Jonathan told the officers: "'Garda I was in the area last night and I was in a row with a couple of guys and I think I might be the guy you're looking for.'"

He was brought to Terenure Garda Station, where he would be interviewed by officers over a period of 20 hours – including rest breaks.

"During the course of the second interview he was told the injured man had passed away," the source said.

"Jonathan was brought back to a holding cell where he bawled his eyes out. He told the gardai he will take whatever punishment is handed down.

"But he wants the family of Paddy Mullally to know there was no intent behind what happened that night.

"He accepts that Paddy Mullally was engaged in an honourable act when he struck him and both he and his family want to convey their deepest sympathies to the Mullally family."

Jonathan was released without charge late on Sunday night. A file is now being prepared for the DPP.

Paddy Mullally's funeral is due to take place tomorrow, in the Church of St Pius X in Templeogue at 11.30am.