Northern Ireland news

Robert Molloy Jones: Man convicted of manslaughter to be sentenced in March

Robert Molloy-Jones (30)

A 23-year-old man, who wept giving evidence as he apologised for killing fellow drug user Robert Molloy-Jones, was yesterday cleared of murder - but convicted of his unlawful killing.

Jordan Snoddy always denied murdering Mr Molloy-Jones in June 2018 and claimed he had acted in self-defence after the deceased punched him then tried to steal a bag of Diazepam.

The 30-year-old was found lying in the Parkmount Street area of Belfast's Tiger Bay by his girlfriend.

In a trial at Belfast Crown Court. which spanned two weeks, the jury were told that the two strangers encountered each other on the street on the evening of June 28, 2018.

Snoddy was invited into Mr Molloy-Jones's Mountcollyer Avenue flat where they both smoked some cannabis.

When Snoddy was leaving a short time later to obtain a bag of Diazepam, Mr Molloy-Jones, a father-of-one, accompanied him.

After the bag of 50 'blues' had been obtained, and as the pair were walking along Parkmount Street, the fatal altercation occurred.

Snoddy - who gave evidence during the trial - said that as they approached a set of steps, Mr Molloy-Jones punched him to the back of his head which caused him to stumble, then tried to take the bag of tablets.

The Co Antrim man, whose address is the subject of a reporting restrictions, said he reacted by striking Mr Molloy-Jones three times in the face, which caused him to fall back.

In the immediate aftermath, Snoddy ran to a friend's house and asked him to call an ambulance, before returning to the steps and putting Mr Molloy-Jones in the recovery position.

Death was caused by a bleed to the surface of the brain caused by a rupture to the vertebral artery, which runs from the spine to the brain.

Senior pathologist Professor Jack Crane said the damage would most likely have been "as a result of a blow somewhere in the region of the ear area."

Snoddy was arrested later that night, but was deemed unfit for interview until the following day.

Crown prosecutor Richard Weir QC said Mr Molloy-Jones was subjected to a "concerted, extensive and murderous attack" by Snoddy, whose claim of self-defence should be rejected due to the nature and number of injuries sustained by the deceased.

From the witness box, Snoddy broke down in tears and said it was never his intention to kill Mr Molloy-Jones. He also apologised to both the victim's family as well as his own.

During the trial, the jury heard Mr Molloy-Jones was a heavy drugs user who had particular issues with Diazepam. The jury also heard that prior to the fatal attack, Snoddy had consumed beer and taken six Lyrica.

Before they deliberated, the jury was told by Judge David McFarland that they could consider a charge of manslaughter as an alternative to the murder charge levelled at Snoddy.

Part of their consideration, the judge said, should be whether or not Snoddy intended to cause really serious harm to Mr Molloy-Jones.

The deliberations started on Monday afternoon, and at lunchtime yesterday the foreperson delivered a majority ten-to-two verdict of 'not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.'

Snoddy was remanded into custody until March 4 when he will be sentenced.

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