Content warning: This news report contains graphic descriptions of violence and homophobia
A key witness to the murder of a homeless Corkman, Timmy Hourihane, has claimed that the victim was killed “in cold blood for no other fact than that the man was gay”. The late chef died on October 13, 2019, after being viciously attacked in the tented village off Mardyke Walk in Cork City.
Kathleen O’Brien was living alongside Hourihane in the tented community at the time of his death and said she threw herself over the man in an attempt to protect him from the assailants. She added that on the night of the incident, 28-year-old James Brady and another man who cannot be named for legal reasons, “were shouting and yelling and screaming” in the village.
“They were firing each other up, getting angrier and angrier,” O’Brien stated.
“They came across Timmy. They started beating him. James Brady and [the unnamed man] hit Timmy. Timmy fell down. I think James Brady hit him first. I think he hit him in the face with his fist. […] I seen them stamp on Timmy’s head. Both of them.
“They were stamping on his head. Then one started stamping on his legs. They were taking turns. I threw my body over Timmy’s head to try to protect him, then down to his legs.”
The witness recalled the attackers targetting whatever part of Mr Hourihane’s body was unprotected. “James Brady opened [Mr Hourihane’s] legs and said to [unnamed man] to ‘go on kick him, he’s only a f*****t’,” she continued.
“I screamed and pleaded, everything, for them to stop. I ended up with a black eye, a few bruises, a few hits to the head.”
O’Brien said that the attack “finally stopped when the man was beyond recognition”, adding that Mr Hourihane was “covered with his own blood”.
Following the murder in October 2019, O’Brien gave a statement to Gardaí initially saying that she knew nothing about it. She later explained, “I was scared for my life after seeing what they did”, and changed her statement, recalling the “nightmare” in the same statement that she gave to the Central Criminal Court in Waterford on Monday.
Several months after the incident, O’Brien is reported to have suffered a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull, with her memory being patchy since.
Senior counsel of the defendant, Vincent Heneghan, has claimed that O’Brien’s retelling of the events is inaccurate and that his client, Mr Brady, was also trying to stop the attack. He alleges that another man started the attack, but O’Brien remains firm that it was two men who killed Timmy Hourihane.
“I respect you and you’re doing a good job, but I swear with my hand on my heart, on the holy bible, that James Brady and [unnamed man] killed that man in cold blood for no other fact than that the man was gay.”
James Brady of Shannon Lawn, Mayfield, Cork, is on trial for the murder and has pleaded not guilty. The other party mentioned above has also been charged, with his trial set at a later date.
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