‘Why did you murder my son?’

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The late Pat 'Pa' O'Connor

“WHY did you murder my son? Why did you slaughter him?”

That was the emotional response from the mother of Patrick “Pa” O’Connor when a 41-year-old father-of-two was charged with murdering her 24-year-old son at a Limerick pub last Saturday night.

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As Mark Crawford of Distillery View in Thomondgate, was escorted into court this Wednesday morning, there were verbal outbursts from family and friends of the murdered man.

They shouted at the accused man as he stood surrounded by Gardaí in the custody area of the court.

A number of them left the courtroom during the proceedings.

Dressed in a black and grey Adidas tracksuit and Nike runners, Mark Crawford stood in silence as the brief proceedings unfolded before Judge Marian O’Leary.

Detective Garda Tommy Griffin of Mayorstone Garda Station said that he formally arrested the accused just before 9.30pm on Tuesday night for the purpose of charging him with the murder of Patrick “Pa” O’Connor on Saturday night, July 7.

A copy of the charge sheet was given to Mark Crawford but he made no reply.

Prosecuting Garda Sergeant Donal Cronin said that the application on behalf of the State was to have the accused remanded in custody until next Tuesday to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions issue full directions in the case.

Legal Aid defence solicitor Sarah Ryan represented the accused and did not ask any Detective Griffin any questions on his evidence.

Any application for bail will have to be made to the High Court in Dublin as the District Court does not have jurisdiction to hear bail applications in murder cases.

Judge O’Leary remanded Mark Crawford in custody to appear again before the court next Tuesday.

As he was led away to the holding cell area of the court, he acknowledged members of his own family with a wave.

Patrick Pa O’Connor died at the University Hospital Limerick an hour after he was stabbed at a crowded Fitzgerald’s Bar in Thomondgate just before midnight last Saturday night.

The popular Kileely man will be laid to rest this Friday at Mount St Oliver Cemetery after Requiem Mass at St Munchin’s Church.