independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Family seeks justice for Jim

INQUEST RULES THAT UNCLE OF NICOLA FURLONG DIED OF 'UNLAWFUL KILLING'

FINTAN LAMBE

THE FAMILY OF 40-year-old James (Jim) Doyle, who died in Gorey in November 2009, have called for someone to be held accountable for his death, after an inquest last week found he died as a result of unlawful killing in Gorey.

His inquest came just three weeks after his niece, Nicola Furlong from Curracloe, was brutally murdered in Japan, bringing further heartache to her already grieving family.

Jim ( pictured), a father of three young children, from Clonsilla, Gorey, died two days after being involved in an incident on the Fort Road in Gorey in the early hours of November 14, 2009. He had been trying to help his second cousin, Neil, at the time.

Dublin Coroner's Court was told last week that Neil Doyle had been involved in a minor pushing incident with another man at the Malibu nightclub on Pearse Street earlier in the evening and Jim walked part of the way home with him.

The Coroner's Court was told by Neil Doyle that he was then assaulted, and he went back towards the nightclub and Jim Doyle began to walk him back home again. As they walked up the road, words were exchanged with three men, including the person who assaulted Neil, and a fight ensued.

Eyewitness Liz Byrne told the court she saw Jim being knocked to the ground where he was kicked. She went to help him, but he was non-responsive, though his eyes were open.

Jim died of his injuries on November 16 at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

In his evidence to the Coroner's Court, Deputy State Pathologist Dr. Khalid Jabbar gave evidence of the injuries to Jim's head. Det. Sgt. Murth Whelan told the court that two of the three men involved in the fight admitted punching Mr Doyle in the head. Three men were later charged and convicted of affray at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.

The jury at the inquest last week returned a verdict of death by unlawful killing, leading Jim's family to now call for his case to be reopened, as they feel they have not had justice for Jim.

Speaking this week to this newspaper, Jim's sister Elizabeth Larkin, and his partner Margaret Bolger, called for the case to be reopened in light of the jury's verdict in the inquest.

'We were never asked for an impact statement in the original court case,' said Elizabeth. 'We never got a say. We were never approached for our views. We were grieving, and we were very confused. It's not as if you lose a brother, father and son every week.

'I was so angry in court that they never mentioned that Jim was a father-of-three, and we never got to tell the court how much he meant to us,' she added. 'Even at one stage, the Gardai weren't allowed to mention that he died. It was like saying there was an affray and everybody walked away. We never got justice for Jim.

'They had barristers, junior barristers, solicitors, interpreters, all paid by the State, and we had one solicitor,' she continued. 'That's how onesided it was. It was all about their defence.

'If they got the maximum sentence for affray that would have been something,' said Margaret. 'But they got nothing but a slap on the wrist, and a €100 fine. You'd get more for having no tax or for speeding.

'We would like to think the case could be reopened, but we don't know if it can,' said Elizabeth. 'The fact that this has been declared an unlawful killing, means the law has been broken, and someone should be held accountable for that. Jim was an innocent in all this.

'The inquest brought information that was never disclosed to us before,' she added. 'We heard details of his injuries that we didn't know, and that he had bruises and in particular injuries to his head.'

Learning that Jim was kicked while he was on the ground was very upsetting for his family. 'We would like to know why no one has been charged with his unlawful death, and why no one is doing time for it,' said Elizabeth.

'He wasn't perfect but he was almost perfect in our eyes,' she added. 'He loved his children and he loved his family.

'He wanted his sons to play for Wexford one day,' added Margaret. 'And now two of them are.' Fionn (18) is playing on the hurling and football Wexford minor teams while Tiernan (13) is playing hurling with the Wexford U14s. He also had a daughter Erin, now aged nine. 'She was his little princess. He doted over her,' she added.

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