Longford man accused of manslaughter tells trial he 'never meant for it to happen'

Liam Cosgrove

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Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford man accused of manslaughter tells trial he 'never meant for it to happen'

Longford man accused of manslaughter tells trial he 'never meant for it to happen'

A man on trial accused of the unlawful killing of another man outside a Co Longford pub last year told gardai he "never meant for it to happen".

Gerard Melia (32) Derrygowna, Lanesboro, Co Longford has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of 50-year-old Noel McGann in the car park of Leavey's Pub, Foigha, Kenagh, Co Longford on August 1, 2019.

Mr Melia admitted to gardai following his arrest later that evening that he hit Mr McGann after the dead man "lunged" at him in the car park, claiming the victim had been "sneering and laughing" at him from inside the pub earlier that evening.

During an interview at Longford Garda Station the following morning, Mr Melia told gardai of how he had attempted to talk to Mr McGann moments before the incident.

"I said: 'Noel, what's the problem? Why do you talk about me?'

Mr Melia indicated the differences between the pair was over "a woman" the accused had been in a relationship with more than four years ago.

Day two of the trial also heard  evidence of how Mr McGann had been refused service for a period of time after a dispute with his brother in the bar "sometime back".

Jimmy Leavy, proprietor of Leavy's, said he had contacted Mr McGann's brother after the deceased had asked in the spring of 2019 if he could be allowed to be served in the pub again.

He said Mr McGann had "a bit of an attitude" and could be "belittling" but was not violent.

He also said he knew Gerard Melia, whom he described as being very well liked and a talented footballer.

He said he had been in the shop adjoining the pub's bar at the time of the confrontation between the accused and the deceased outside.

The court also heard Mr Melia had consumed up to six pints before the tragedy unfolded shortly after 5pm.

In a statement of interview read out to the court, Mr Melia was asked by gardai why he left drove away from the scene of the incident seconds later.

"It happened so quick, I thought he was going to be alright," he told gardai.

Statements from both Mr Melia's parents as well as friends Tom Rowan and Liam Mulvihill, both of whom accompanied Mr Melia to Ballymahon Garda Station later that evening where he handed himself in.

Mr Rowan said he found Mr Melia in the bedroom of his mother's house with "tears coming out of his eyes".

Mr Rowan said Mr Melia had told him he had gone to Ballymahon Garda Station earlier the same evening before becoming unnerved at seeing a heavy garda presence in the town. 

Acting state pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan also told the trial Mr McGann died as a result of a traumatic head injury after falling to the ground and hitting his head.

Mr McGann died three days later in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The trial continues on Tuesday at Longford Circuit Criminal Court in front of Judge Keenan Johnston.

Also read: Longford man goes on trial charged with manslaughter following row outside pub