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Trial latest Son denies murdering father but admits manslaughter as court told of row

Ms O'Donoghue had told gardaí she heard John Butler telling Stephen 'you're no son of mine'


Stephen Butler has been charged with his father’s murder

Stephen Butler has been charged with his father’s murder

Stephen Butler has been charged with his father’s murder

A man has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his father in Co Waterford last year.

Stephen Butler appeared before the Central Criminal Court in Waterford yesterday morning.

John Butler died following a row in the early hours of Saturday, January 11, last year.

The 48-year-old was found in the hallway of his house on Brown Street in Portlaw, and attempts to resuscitate him by onlookers were unsuccessful.

His son, Stephen Butler, with an address at Shielbaggan, Ramsgrange, Co Wexford, was charged with his murder.

The 23-year-old, who appeared in court wearing a navy suit, white shirt and patterned tie, told the court yesterday he was pleading not guilty to the charge of murder, but said he does plead guilty to manslaughter.

Prosecutor Michael Delaney SC told the jury they must decide whether there was "an intent to either kill or cause serious injury" on Stephen Butler's part.

The incident took place after the two had been out in nearby Carrick-on-Suir playing in a darts tournament.

They came back to Portlaw later that night and settled in the Clodagh Bar for drinks around midnight, directly opposite their home.

The two, who witnesses said were often taking "sly digs" at each other, later went home, where the older man locked his son out of the house.

Stephen Butler was seen kicking at the door while John tried to keep him out, and minutes afterwards Stephen Butler was seen "repeatedly punching" his father in the head until he collapsed in the hallway of his home.

Stephen Butler left the scene and was later found near the River Clodiagh by his mother, Lisa Kelly, who had received a call from her ex-husband John.

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Ms Kelly travelled from Wexford that night following the phone call and her son eventually returned to the scene after 4am.

He was initially charged with assault causing harm but this was later upgraded to murder.

John Butler suffered multiple lacerations and a dissected blood vessel which caused an injury akin to a stroke, Mr Delaney told the jury.

Tony McGrath, from Beechwood Grove, Portlaw, who came upon the scene, told the court he held John Butler's hand as he lay in the hallway, telling the man, "Come on, John, get up".

The older Mr Butler "grunted" but did not respond, he said.

Mr McGrath and a friend found he had no pulse, and tried to resuscitate him with a defibrillator but to no avail.

An ambulance later brought him to University Hospital Waterford where he was pronounced dead.

Shannon O'Donoghue, who was working in the Clodagh Bar, on the night of the incident, told gardaí in her statement that Stephen Butler had commented on her "good relationship" with her father in comparison with his with his own.

While in the pub they engaged in "little sly digs" against each other, she said.

Ms O'Donoghue said Stephen Butler was in a "frantic" state outside the Brown Street home when she was leaving.

Ms O'Donoghue had told gardaí she heard John Butler telling Stephen "you're no son of mine".

The trial continues today.

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