What he did to Niall was the ‘stuff of animals’ says victim’s father

A Louth man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Niall Dorr in Dundalk two years ago was sentenced to 13 years at Dublin Central Criminal Court.

A Louth man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Niall Dorr in Dundalk two years ago was sentenced to 13 years at Dublin Central Criminal Court.

Douglas Ward, with an address at Loughantarve, Knockbridge, Co Louth, was sentenced to 16 years with the final three suspended, having previously pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 18-year-old Niall Dorr on December 17.

Mr Justice Paul Carney said that alcohol does not afford a defence and that an aggravating feature was that Ward had killed Mr Dorr after he attended a bail hearing in Dundalk.

The court had heard that a number of 999 calls were made at about 9pm stating a young man was lying unconscious on the footpath in Castle Road, Dundalk, partially dressed and underneath a parked car.

The court previously heard Mr Dorr was a peacemaker and was trying to break up a row when Ward attacked him.

His father told the court that his son Niall, a champion kickboxer, died a lonely death on the streets he loved and said he hopes that when Ward looks at his children, he will think of the young man he killed.

David Dorr also said that Niall had signed a donor card three months earlier and had saved five people’s lives.

Mr Dorr said he cried the day his son Niall was born and only once more 18 years and 43 weeks later, on the day he died.

The court was told Niall Dorr was with two friends on Castle Street when at around 9pm on 13 October 2010 a group including Ward, 37, approached them and a row broke out.

Niall was trying to stop the row and keep the peace when the court heard Ward punched and kicked him in the head - continuously, viciously and repeatedly.

A witness told gardaí she saw Ward “bouncing” Mr Dorr’s head off the road up to 10 times and kicking him in the head a number of times. She said Mr Dorr was “like a rag doll and was totally unresponsive”.

Another witness gave a graphic account to gardaí saying it was a “continuous beating with vicious kicking and punching.”

A third witness said he saw a “fella on the ground who looked like he was lifeless and a man kicking and stomping on his head.” He said Ward was “banging” Mr Dorr’s head off the wheel of a parked car.

Ward constantly denied to gardaí he was at the scene, despite his DNA being found on a cigarette found at the scene and on Mr Dorr’s t-shirt.

After the incident, Ward and another male got a taxi to an off-licence where they purchased more alcohol and returned to his home. Dr Marie Cassidy said Mr Dorr died on October 14th, 2010 as a result of head trauma and a fracture to the skull which caused hemorrhaging. She noted a zig zag pattern on Mr Dorr’s forehead which she concluded he was “struck with an object of pattern such as a shoe in a stamping motion”.

Detective Sergeant Patrick Marry said Niall Dorr sustained irrevocable brain damage and surgery was not possible.

Ward, who had been in Dundalk for a bail hearing on the October 13, 2010, had been drinking since the pubs opened that morning and after the attack went to an off-licence and bought more drink

In a statement after the sentencing of Ward, Niall’s father David, mother Veronica and brother Shane, said “nothing can ever bring Niall back or take away the pain and suffering which we have endured since that terrible night.

“Niall was the peacemaker and didn’t want harm to come to anyone. But little did he know that he was dealing with blood thirsty thugs. To knock a person unconscious and then to repeatedly bang his head off the ground and kick his lifeless body into a pulp is just the stuff of animals,” said Mr Dorr.

In a victim impact, David Dorr said his son’s bedroom is still the same, nothing has changed; his picture is on his desk and every day the family say good morning and goodnight to him.

David Dorr also said if what happened to Niall served to wake people up to the tragedies they bestow on others, it would in some small way help the family.

But this he said was a flawed hope because society is moving on to repeat again and again the very act of poison that occurred that night - the length and breadth of the country.