Wicklow murder trial hears self defence claim

Thomas O’Connor of Burnaby Court in Greystones admits beating John O’Brien to death with a rock - but claims he was acting in self defence

The barrister for a man accused of murdering his friend in Wicklow has told the jury he had no motive to do so.

Thomas O’Connor of Burnaby Court in Greystones admits beating John O’Brien to death with a rock - but claims he was acting in self defence.

Feargal Kavanagh SC began his closing address by describing this case as “very tragic.”

He said it was clear Thomas O’Connor and John O’Brien were friends who regularly socialised together.

He said his client didn’t intend to kill - and had no motive to do so - but admits using excessive force while defending himself.

Should the jury accept the defence’s claim, the charge could be reduced to manslaughter.

Mr. O’Connor claims his friend “went for him” with a rock during a row on Farrankelly Road on the night of June 4th 2010 and that he used it to beat him across the head in what he describes as an act of self defence.

The jury heard he left the scene afterwards, threw the rock in a ditch, washed his hands with bleach and burnt a hoodie he was wearing.

Mr Kavanagh said these were all acts of a man in panic, adding that his client later co-operated fully with Gardaí.