Witness evidence  | 

SUV did not stop as it ran over Irish boxing champion, murder trial hears

The witness said that Mr Sheehy had catastrophic blood loss and there were injuries to his leg, head and upper body.
Kevin Sheehy. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Kevin Sheehy. Photo: Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Alison O'Riordan

A SUV did not stop as it ran over Irish boxing champion Kevin Sheehy, while there was evidence of drag marks at the scene, a murder trial has heard.

Logan Jackson (31), of Longford Road, Coventry, England has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to Mr Sheehy's (20) manslaughter at Hyde Road in Limerick city on July 1, 2019.

Mr Sheehy, a five times Irish boxing champion, died after being struck by a UK-registered black Mitsubishi vehicle shortly after leaving a late-night house party in Limerick. His body was found lying on the road at about 4.40am.

The jury has heard that Mr Sheehy's cousin, Thomas Lysaght, tried to grab onto him before he was struck and "taken away" from him by the speeding SUV.

Mr Lysaght said he tried to pull the 20-year-old off the ground but the vehicle "spun around" and came back towards them for a second time.

"I had to let Kevin go and move away. He was dragged up the road," Mr Lysaght told the trial last week.

The witness described how he tried to divert the driver's attention away from his cousin but that the jeep "went over" Mr Sheehy a third time before fleeing the scene.

Giving evidence, now retired Sergeant David Burke told prosecution counsel Dean Kelly SC that Mr Sheehy was found on the right side of the road, lying parallel to the pavement. There was a large pool of blood around him.

Mr Burke also noted that a pair of sunglasses, a phone and a belt belonging to a pair of trousers as well as some of its buckles were found on the roadway.

The witness said he noticed a drag mark with "a blue tinge" to it on the ground, which extended for approximately 11 metres, and contained some fibres. "It was a blue colour and looked like denim fibres similar in colour to the denim that the deceased was wearing," he said.

Two pieces from the bumper of the Mitsubishi were also recovered and they contained blood splatter, Mr Burke said.

The court heard that two human teeth were found at the scene; one on the roadway and the other under a BMW car, which was parked nearby.

Mr Burke said a blood-stained registration plate from the vehicle was also found on the roadway.

The next witness, Sergeant Kevin Burke, testified that he carried out a forensic investigation of a single vehicle collision, which occurred on an avenue running parallel to Hyde Road on July 1.

Boxer Kevin Sheehy's funeral arrives at the Holy Family Church, Southill 
Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Boxer Kevin Sheehy's funeral arrives at the Holy Family Church, Southill Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

The witness noted that the speed limit on the inner road was 50km/h and its width was 4.5 metres. The road was mostly flat with a slight uphill gradient and was flanked on the right-hand side by a raised footpath, which was 18cm high.

Mr Sheehy, who was being preserved inside a forensic tent at the time, was lying on the road against the edge of a footpath. He was wearing a grey t-shirt and blue jeans and there was significant shredding damage to his clothing.

The blue fibres were located approximately 34 metres before Mr Sheehy's remains.

Sgt Burke noted tyre marks on the top of the avenue, which were 14.5 metres long.

Referring to the blue fabric marks, the witness said they started on the footpath and were 4.4 metres in length and continued onto the road for another 4.4 metres. "Light gouge marks on the road with the blue fabric marks indicated contact with an object, which was dragged forward," he said.

The pattern of the marks, he said, indicated that "the object" in contact with the car was "rolling" whilst being "moved forward".

The witness could not locate the first point at which the SUV had made contact with Mr Sheehy. However, he said he was satisfied that the primary collision with Mr Sheehy had occurred on the footpath based on the "blue marks" on it.

No brake marks were found at the scene and the witness could not establish if the jeep had braked before or after the incident. "I can't say definitely if the jeep braked but I can say it did not stop," he added.

Sgt Burke went on to say he was satisfied that the jeep did not stop when it collided with Mr Sheehy and the vehicle had "overran" the pedestrian.

There were two strike marks on the front of the vehicle. The first was to the driver's side, where there was considerable damage to the car including its bonnet. There was also evidence of a second strike with the pedestrian on the nearer side of the passenger side of the car.

The impact to the bonnet, he said, showed that Mr Sheehy would have been upright for the first collision but not when he was struck on the subsequent occasion. "The person would have been below the headlight line, crouched or bent over," he said.

Having observed the vehicle, the witness said he observed blood below the front passenger headlight and on the passenger side. There was also a small amount of blood on the rear passenger wheel and the wheel arch.

In conclusion, Sgt Burke said the condition of the jeep was consistent with it being involved with a pedestrian collision and that the position of the blood on the jeep was consistent with multiple strikes.

He also found that the initial collision with the pedestrian occurred on the footpath. He further found that the SUV had struck Mr Sheehy, that it failed to stop and had "overran" him. In addition, he said the vehicle had failed to remain at the scene.

Earlier, paramedic Breda Maloney said she attended Hyde Road at 5am on July 1 and observed a garda doing CPR on Mr Sheehy. Ms Maloney said her colleague asked the garda to stop performing CPR as there was no attempt at resuscitation.

The witness said that Mr Sheehy had catastrophic blood loss and there were injuries to his leg, head and upper body.

The deceased was formally pronounced dead at 5.42am that morning.

Mr Jackson also denies intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to others to wit; driving a Mitsubishi SUV vehicle dangerously at high speed in the direction of pedestrians on the same occasion.

The charge of endangerment is contrary to Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

The jury have been told that Mr Jackson is a native of Coventry in the UK and has "some family connections" in Limerick.

In his opening address, prosecution counsel Mr Kelly told the jury that Mr Jackson "thundered" a vehicle into the 20-year-old before driving over him again at speed.

The trial has also heard that Mr Sheehy and Mr Jackson had "an exchange" moments after leaving a house party where they had gone to celebrate Limerick’s Munster hurling final victory over Tipperary in 2019. The court was told that "some exception was taken by something that was said or words spoken".

The trial continues before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.

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