Northern Ireland news

Man (23) accused of killing friend in 'one-punch' incident on Tyrella Beach claimed he acted in self-defence

The trial at Downpatrick Crown Court began yesterday

A 23-year old man accused of killing his friend in a 'one-punch' incident on Tyrella Beach in Co Down claimed he acted in self-defence.

But a prosecution barrister told Downpatrick Crown Court that a punch thrown by Joseph Dorrian of Lakeview, Crumlin, which claimed the life of Darren O'Neill (22), was "an entirely unnecessary, unjustified unlawful act".

The court heard the men travelled from Belfast in Mr Dorrian's father's car with two female friends on June 27 2019, stopping at an off-licence.

Gavin Duffy QC told the court Mr O'Neill drank beer during the journey and said he had taken a 'Bud' - a nickname for the prescribed painkiller Lyrica/Pregabalin.

At the beach, a row is alleged to have began after Mr O'Neill drove the car around the beach.

The court heard Mr Dorrian was "cracking up" and when Mr O'Neill got out, he was approached by Mr Dorrian who slapped him.

Mr O'Neill hit back and the court heard Mr Dorrian struck Mr O'Neill's jaw with his right fist with some force. The blow caused Mr O'Neill to fall, but after a few seconds he got back up, before collapsing.

He was taken to hospital, but died on June 29.

A post mortem found his cause of death was the blow struck by Mr Dorrian.

The pathologist said the force of the blow to the jaw caused a tear in an internal artery that carries blood to the brain, which led to a bleed on the brain and a cardiac arrest.

The court heard Mr Dorrian, who denies the charge of manslaughter, told police there was a confrontation and he had "responded immediately" to protect himself.

The trial continues.

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Northern Ireland news