Christian response from family of man killed with a single blow

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Judge Tom O'Donnell

‘THE most Christian response I have ever heard,” was how a judge described a letter from the family of a man who was killed by a single blow in a row in Limerick city.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was sentencing Wayne Kennedy (33) of no fixed abode for the manslaughter of Gerard Freyne on October 14 2016.

Kennedy had previously pleaded guilty to the charge before the Limerick Circuit Court and part of the letter written by the dead man’s family was read out at last Monday’s sentencing hearing.

It said that the family was aware that Kennedy was “a young man fighting addiction..we will pray for him and we hope that he will realise that it was his addiction that brought him to this and that he will turn his life around””.

The court heard that the victim was a man in his 50’s who had “lost everything” through addiction and was a resident of the Brother Russell House.

On the date of the attack, October 14, 2016, the accused and Mr Freyne had an altercation, resulting in Mr Freyne being knocked to the ground. Two Gardaí who came across the incident gave him a lift, but he wandered back into town later and by coincidence met with Wayne Kennedy again.

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Kennedy “struck one blow” and the victim was knocked to ground unconscious, Judge O’Donnell said.

He later died in hospital and a post-mortem showed that death was due to brain swelling and haemorrhage.

The incident was captured on CCTV which showed that Kennedy “was not acting in self-defence,” the judge said.

He added that in passing sentence, he was taking account of his “difficult upbringing”, his plea of guilty, his addiction problems and that fact that “he did not apply for bail which underlines his genuine remorse”.

But this was a serious crime in which a life had been “violently extinguished,” Judge O’Donnell said, sentencing Kennedy to seven years in jail, with the final two suspended, backdating the sentence to last October when he was arrested and taken into custody.

More about crime and court here.