The wife of a father-of-two who was beaten to death while he was on a Stag night has told the Central Criminal Court of the grief of feeling how her husband “died in fear”.
After Mr Justice Kerida Naidoo pronounced the mandatory life sentence on Philip Disney and Sean Carlyle on Friday morning, Carlyle baited the grieving family of Vincent Parsons and their supporters by smirking and insulting them before being led away by gardaí.
Mr Parsons (34) was murdered by the two Dublin men after the trial heard he had too much to drink at a stag do, became “messy” and irritated Disney.
Philip Disney (27) of Donomore Crescent, Tallaght and Sean Carlyle (30), with an address at Donomore Avenue in the West Dublin suburb, had denied murdering Mr Parsons at Killinarden Way, near the Killinarden Inn in Tallaght, on the night of August 24th, 2019.
However, last month a jury of six men and six women arrived at their guilty verdict after four hours and 48 minutes of their deliberations over two days.
Soul mate and provider
On Friday at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Parson’s wife, Clare, read from her victim impact statement that her husband was her “best friend, soul mate and provider”.
Mrs Parsons said that she had never seen her husband in an altercation and that he saw the good in life and was willing to help “a friend, a colleague or neighbour”.
Mrs Parsons said that when she received the call about the attack on Vincent, she was “in denial” that it was him.
“I couldn’t understand,” she said. “I was in denial it was him until I arrived and found out it was true. I had to wait for hours to get to see him and that image will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Mrs Parsons said her and their children’s world had “fallen apart” since Vincent’s death.
“Coming to court was like living the nightmare over again. But I stayed strong. I promised my husband I would fight for him and I did. But now after the trial, the feeling that I have is that my husband just didn’t die, he died in fear,” she said.
During the trial, Lorcan Staines SC, for the prosecution, told the court the deceased had been drinking for several hours at a friend’s stag do when he became “messy”, started hugging people and began to irritate others in the Killinarden Inn before coming to the attention of Disney.
CCTV played for the jury showed that there were words between them and, counsel said, Disney became irritated and agitated and could be seen raising his arm and pointing at Mr Parsons before saying something to him. CCTV showed Mr Parsons leaving the pub after that interaction and then, once outside, running from the pub.
Counsel said: “Whatever it was that was said, it caused Vincent Parsons to run. He immediately left the pub out the front door and ran left and away from the pub.” Mr Staines told the jury that Mr Parsons ran “as if his life depended on it”.
Counsel told the jury that the two men got into a van and caught up with Mr Parsons and beat him to death on a green area at Killinarden Way.
Mr Staines had told the jury that the two accused had “acted together each and every step of the way in common design” before and after the killing, which CCTV evidence showed.
The prosecution’s case was that the two accused left the pub within minutes of Mr Parsons’ departure, got into a black van and then got out of the van at the nearby green area where the two beat Mr Parsons to death. Just 48 seconds after stopping at the green area, they got back into the van and drove towards Carlyle’s home, footage showed.
The State’s case was that Carlyle changed his clothes and then left the van “off site” at a nearby housing estate. Both men then got a lift back to the pub, where they could be seen returning on CCTV about 30-to-35 minutes after they had left to manufacture an alibi that they never left.
A watch belonging to Mr Parsons, which was a gift from his daughter with the inscription, “To Dad, love Jade, Xmas 2011”, was found in the van that the prosecution alleged belonged to Carlyle. However, no DNA profile could be generated from the watch. Forensics found the deceased’s blood was on a pair of shorts that Carlyle was wearing when gardai entered his house with a warrant less than seven hours after the alleged murder.
It was the State’s case that the two accused were part of a “joint enterprise” to murder Mr Parsons.
A pathologist told the court that Mr Parsons’s cause of death was brain damage due to a shortage of blood flow as a result of a heart attack, which was in turn caused by severe facial injuries and the inhalation of blood.
Mr Parson’s brother, David, who was in the pub on the night, told the court that Vincent: “would never start a fight with anyone. He could be a messy drunk but was never aggressive. There’s not a bad bone in his body.”