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'egged on' Woman tells court she threw herself over homeless chef as men took turns stamping on him

Witness says homeless man was killed 'for no other reason than the man was gay'

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Timmy Hourihane. Photo: Provision

Timmy Hourihane. Photo: Provision

Timmy Hourihane. Photo: Provision

A woman has told a murder trial that she threw herself over a homeless man to protect him as he was allegedly beaten to death.

Kathleen O'Brien told the Central Criminal Court that she "pleaded" with two men to stop the violent attack on chef Timmy Hourihane in Cork on October 13 2019.

She said there had been a homophobic slur used against the victim and alleged that, "with my hand on my heart", the men "killed that man for no other reason than the man was gay.”

Ms O'Brien was one of a number of people living at the time in a tented village off Mardyke Walk in Cork city who gave evidence in the trial of James Brady, 28, of Shannon Lawn, Mayfield, Cork.

He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Another man, who cannot be named, will be tried for murder at a later date.

Kathleen O'Brien told the jury sitting in Waterford that the two men were "firing each other up, getting angrier and angrier" when they came across Mr Hourihane, who she alleged was struck first by Mr Brady.

She said the victim didn't try to defend himself.

She added: "James Brady opened his [Mr Hourihane’s] legs and said to [the unnamed man] to ‘go on, kick him, he’s only a faggot.'"

Ms O'Brien told Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, that she was sure that Mr Brady was not trying to pull the other man off Mr Hourihane.

Mr Heneghan then asked how did the incident start.

She said: "James Brady was trying to say that Timmy flirted with him and tried to drop a hand on him.

"That got [the other man] riled up and then the two of them got into a rage. James Brady hit Timmy and Timmy fell down and then [the other man] went in.”

When Mr Heneghan put it to her that her recollection was faulty and that Mr Brady was not involved, the witness said: “I respect you and respect that you done a good job. I can tell you this, with my hand on my heart, on the holy bible, James Brady and [the other man] killed that man for no other reason than the man was gay.”

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The men were "egging each other on" as they "stamped" on the Hourihane's head and legs, Ms O'Brien said.

When she tried to protect Mr Hourihane's head from their stamps, she claimed they would then move to stamping on his legs, and back to his head. When she would move to try protect Mr Hourihane's legs, she alleged that "the other one would go around to his head” and continue the attack.

Ms O'Brien told the court she received a black eye and bruises due to this.

“I screamed and pleaded, everything, for them to stop."

She told prosecuting barrister Siobhan Lankford BL that she believed the attack stopped because the men had "exhausted themselves", with Mr Hourihane "beyond recognition" at that point.

Ms O'Brien said she gave a statement later that night to gardaí saying that knew nothing about the incident, but she told the court that no longer stands over this account.

She said she "was scared for my life after seeing what they did".

Mr Hourihane, a father of one, was a trained chef who was homeless at the time of his death. He was originally from the Sheep's Head Peninsula outside Bantry in West Cork.

He died at Cork University Hospital after the alleged assault.

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