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murder trial Man who admitted killing his friend on Dublin street 'case of murder pure and simple' court hears

Damien Singleton pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Peter Donnelly


Damien Singleton (left) and Peter Donnelly

Damien Singleton (left) and Peter Donnelly

Damien Singleton (left) and Peter Donnelly

The prosecution barrister in the trial of a man who admits killing his friend on Dublin's O'Connell Street has told the jury that this is a case "of murder pure and simple."

Damien Singleton (30), who is of no fixed abode but is originally from Cork, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of 39-year-old Peter Donnelly on O’Connell Street Upper West in Dublin on June 11, 2019.

Opening the prosecution’s case this morning, Lorcan Staines SC said the court will hear evidence that the deceased man, Mr Donnelly, who was originally from Kilkenny, had been sleeping rough in Dublin city centre.

The accused man Mr Singleton, he said, was 28 years of age at the time of the incident and was staying in Dublin.


Damien Singleton

Damien Singleton

Damien Singleton

Outlining the facts of the case, Mr Staines said Mr Singleton and Mr Donnelly were friends and had spent time together in each other's company.

The court heard that the two men were in each other's company for three night's prior to the killing.

At noon on June 10, Mr Staines said that Mr Donnelly got a bus to Kilkenny to collect his dole, which was dispensed at a dole office there.

At 4pm, Mr Donnelly got a bus back to Dublin and got off close to O'Connell Street.

The prosecution barrister went on to tell the court that Mr Donnelly was "hanging around" the O'Connell Street area from 6pm on June 10.

Mr Donnelly, he said, then hung around the O'Connell Street area in the company of a female until around midnight.

Around 00.45am, Garda Nicola Torsney, who was wearing a hi-vis jacket, was "acting on beat control" on O'Connell Street. She had a long conversation with the accused Mr Singleton, where they discussed his life, relationships and well-being.

Mr Staines told the court that the conversation went on for thirty minutes and the accused thanked Gda Torsney at the end of their chat, hugged her and walked on.

A few minutes later, Gda Torsney heard shouting and saw the accused man, Mr Donnelly and the female.

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"The garda became concerned and gave instructions over the radio to say that these two males should be watched," he said.

Mr Staines explained to the jury that gardai have CCTV footage around the city centre which is controlled by an office in town. "On foot of her instruction, the CCTV cameras moved to follow these two males," he said.

In relation to the evidence against the accused, Mr Staines said it is the prosecution case that Mr Singleton acted aggressively towards Mr Donnelly.

Outlining the circumstances of the deceased’s death, the lawyer said that Mr Donnelly made a number of attempts to move away from the accused and in the moments before his death he moved away.

"The accused then grabs Mr Donnelly with one hand and makes a stabbing motion three times with his other hand. The accused brings the deceased to the ground where he hits him across the head with a bottle and Mr Singleton then runs away," said counsel.

There will be evidence, Mr Staines said, of blood droplets which were followed by gardai from the scene and ultimately they came across Mr Singleton, who still had a knife in his possession.

"He attempted to discard the knife unsuccessfully and the knife was recovered," he added.

Mr Staines indicated to the jury that it fell to him to prove that when Mr Singleton did this act he intended to kill Mr Donnelly or cause him serious injury.

"This is a case of murder pure and simple,' he concluded.

The trial continues this afternoon before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of six men and six women. It is expected to last eight days.

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