The Mitchelstown man on trial for murder in a pub said the deceased was one of his best friends and claimed he only threw two or three punches in self-defence in a row about a pint.
The accused said he was eternally sorry.
28-year-old Michael Dineen of Ard Mhuileann, Mitchelstown, denies the charge of murdering 36-year-old Patrick Ginty O’Donnell at Willie Andies bar on New Square, Mitchelstown, on June 1 2018. He admits being guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of murder.
Detective Sergeant James O’Shea was in the witness box this afternoon as prosecution senior counsel Tim O’Leary read the memo of an interview Michael Dineen had with Detective Garda Noel Howley.
Michael Dineen said in response to questions: “We were drinking all day. My wife and kids were supposed to meet me at the carnival (in the Square in Mitchelstown that day). I was fairly drunk and I couldn’t find them so I went back to the pub.
“Ginty kept saying I robbed his pint. We were all drunk.
"He wouldn’t leave off about the pint. He hit me, grabbed me, wrestled me. I gave him a few digs. He fell to the ground. It was all over.
“He is a bigger man than me. He likes fighting. It is like a sport. He'd have a fight and that’d be it.
“I am after twenty pints. It’s all on camera. All I can do is tell the truth. It should never have happened. He shouldn’t have hit me and I shouldn’t have hit him. I am eternally sorry.
“It happened so fast. You are drunk, everyone is talking, then you get hit, you save yourself. I was only trying to hit him back. I don’t realise that he was going to bang his head. And dead. Somebody said he is dead.
“I tried to pick him up. He was grunting. I couldn’t believe it. I went home. I fed me dogs and went to bed. He is one of my best friends. He calls over to me every day. He is working in a piggery. He was going to get me a job there.
“I was mouldy. I don’t know how this fella didn’t beat me up. He was always stronger. And for him just to go away and die. I was afraid of him when he started to grab me over a pint and I hit him back. It was the worst mistake of my life to go drinking yesterday (June 1 2018).”
Asked how many times he punched the deceased, he said, “Two or maybe three… This man hit me fast. I didn’t have time to get a weapon. I had to defend myself first.
“A very good friend of mine – I had no intention of hurting this man. All I wanted was to drink and have a good time… He came over saying I drank his pint. I said I would buy him a pint. He said I don’t want your pint. He hit me a box to the back of the ear and wrestled into a corner near some chairs. The natural thing I done was defend myself and throwing punches as well. He fell backwards and banged his head on the floor.”
Mr Justice Alexander Owens asked the jury of six men and six women to return to the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork on Monday.