Bloody scenes met three “good Samaritans’ who stopped to help when they saw a fire “viciously burning” at the scene of Cork chef Timmy Hourihane’s killing.
The victim was “gurgling”, with a 'hugely swollen face from beating' and was covered in “dark sticky blood,” the Central Criminal Court in Waterford heard.
“There was blood all over the ground. The man’s head was in a pool of blood, a recess behind his head was filled with blood,” witness Cian Duggan said.
“There was dark sticky blood all over him and all over the ground.”
Mr Duggan had stopped to help when he saw a fire at Mardyke Walk in Cork city after midnight on October 13, 2019 as he was collecting his parents from the city. There was a ‘tented village’ there where people who were homeless were living at the time.
“As I turned left at UCC, I could see the fire. I pulled in and ran back … to investigate," he said.
“The fire was about 6ft in diameter. It was next to a tent and a tree. The fire was that big that it was setting the tree on fire as well.
"On the right side [of the nearby footpath] was the victim, prone on the ground.
“I ran over, checked his airway, breathing, circulation.
“I could not detect a pulse.” Mr Duggan called emergency services, asking for an ambulance for a man 'who was unconscious and badly beaten' and the fire brigade to tackle the fire.
Another ‘good Samaritan’ who tried to help was Kieran Stanley who was passing with his wife Nicole Srock Stanley as they left a birthday party in nearby Sunday's Well Tennis Club.
Mr Stanley “heard gurgling” and ran towards a man he saw lying on the ground, on the opposite side of a pathway near the fire.
"I ran straight towards where the gurgling sounds were coming from and saw a man lying there," Mr Stanley said.
“He was still breathing, I tried to put him in recovery position.
“His face was hugely swollen. I’ve never seen anything like it. He’d obviously been very badly beaten up. I didn’t notice cuts but very bad bruises. His eyes were completely swollen up.
“Where his head was there was a dip in the ground. To me, it appeared that his head had made that dip, as if his head had been pushed into the ground.” It seemed like there was blood in that dip, he said.
His wife, Nicole Srock Stanley, heard a loud bang as she ran towards the fire. She opened the burning tents to look for anyone stuck inside but found them empty of people.
She dragged one burning tent away from a nearby tree and stamped out a smaller tent fire to contain the spread.
“I heard a loud bang coming from the direction of fire," she said.
“The tent was on fire and viciously burning, the tree was also burning. We were concerned someone might still be in the tent.
“The first one was already badly on fire, if people were in there it would have been hopeless for that person.”
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy commended the actions of the three ‘good Samaritans’ in court.
“The actions and efforts of all of you were the only pinpoints of light in a very dark event,” she said.
“It’s comforting to know that there are still people willing to go to the assistance of strangers who are in difficulty."
Silhouetted against the approaching emergency vehicle lights, one of the two men accused of Mr Hourihan’s murder, James Brady, was seen walking away from the scene on CCTV camera.
Mr Brady has pleaded not guilty to murder.
He is accused of kicking Mr Hourihane, 53, “like a football” in the head and the groin as part of a "sustained" assault on October 13, 2019.
Another man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is also charged with Mr Hourihane’s murder. He faces an additional charge of criminal damage to a tent on the same date and will be tried separately.
The court heard that extensive CCTV evidence was condensed into 34 clips to share with the court.
Mr Hourihane, a father-of-one, was homeless at the time of his death but was a trained chef who once worked for the Hilton Hotel chain in the UK.
He suffered extensive lung hemorrhaging due to blunt force, and head and facial trauma and died at Cork University Hospital on the night of the assault.