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'Savage' Man who ‘set upon’ homeless former chef jailed for 11 years for his killing

Sentencing Brady today, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy described the unprovoked attack which killed Mr Hourihane as “brutal and savage and fuelled by alcohol and drugs”.

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Timothy Hourihane

Timothy Hourihane

Timothy Hourihane

A 28-year-old man who “set upon” a father-of-one at a homeless camp in Cork city centre before punching and kicking him to death has been jailed for 11 years.

Timothy ‘Timmy’ Hourihane (53) choked to death on his own blood after he was attacked by James Brady and another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a tented village for homeless people at Mardyke Walk in the early hours October 13, 2019.

Brady, of Shannon Lawn, Mayfield, Cork, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Hourihane, a former chef who once worked for the Hilton group in England.

He later admitted to Mr Hourihane’s manslaughter after a witness at the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Waterford, testified to seeing the accused and his accomplice repeatedly stamping on the victim’s head and body and kicking him in the groin during the prolonged assault.

After a trial lasting four weeks, the jury unanimously convicted Brady of manslaughter in favour of the murder charge sought by the State.

Sentencing Brady today, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy described the unprovoked attack which killed Mr Hourihane as “brutal and savage and fuelled by alcohol and drugs”.

Noting that several passers-by tried to assist the badly beaten victim as he lay on the ground, the judge added: “It is probably scant comfort to the family that Mr Hourihane was not totally abandoned in the hour of his death.”

Ms Justice Murphy also said that the fact that Brady was “still denying the core evidence of the case, that is he repeatedly kicked the prone body” of his victim, meant she was not persuaded to apply a discount to the headline term of 13 years.

She said Brady’s claim that his involvement in the attack was limited to punching Mr Hourihane in the face had been contradicted by three witnesses at the trial.

But the judge said she had noted that the defendant – who has previous convictions for theft and public order offences – was now an enhanced prisoner and suspended the final two years of the 13-year term to encourage further rehabilitation.

A post-mortem had revealed that Mr Hourihane, who was originally from the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in west Cork, suffered a collapsed lung and severe facial and head trauma as a result of the attack. The cause of death had been inhalation of blood and cardiac arrest.

At a hearing last month, a victim impact statement from Mr Hourihane’s only son, Elliot Hourihane, was read to the court.

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In his statement, which was read out by prosecution counsel Siobhan Lankford SC, Elliot Hourihane said he would be forever "haunted by the horror” of his father’s killing.

Elliot Hourihane told the court there were “no winners only losers” in the case, adding his only hope now was that the family could get justice for his father.

He also said he had been hoping he could in some way help his father turn his life around and move him out of homelessness – but that chance had been now taken from him.

“No one should have to go through something like this,” Elliot Hourihane, who is now in his 20s, said.

In a victim impact statement provided by Timothy Hourihane’s brother, Denis, which was also read in to the record by Ms Lankford, Denis Hourihane told how his “life sentence” began the moment he was asked to identify his brother.

He said the sight of his brother’s battered and bruised body inside the morgue will “live with me forever” and that he “cannot imagine” how much his sibling must have suffered on the night he was killed “in the most brutal way”.

Earlier at the same hearing, Detective Sergeant James Buckley told Ms Lankford that the tented village where the fatal assault took place was an “area frequented by people addicted to alcohol and drugs”.

Det Sgt Buckley said witnesses told gardaí they had seen Mr Hourihane being “set upon” by one male while another was being held back.

“Timothy Hourihane is then severely assaulted, and suffers head trauma,” he said.

The emergency services were called after passers-by came to Mr Hourihane’s assistance and he was taken to Cork University Hospital where he died a short time later from his injuries.

Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, told the court that the accused had known the deceased for nine years and had expressed remorse for his actions.

Mr Heneghan said his client had been living “a chaotic lifestyle” at the time of the offence and that he now “prays everyday” for his victim.

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