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  • Writer's picturePatrick Moriarty

Man jailed for only 5 years over fatal attack on father-of-three in Carrickmacross

A 35-year-old Lithuanian man who caused the death of a father-of-three has been sentenced to five years in jail. Vytautas Racys, with an address at The Oak, Loughnaglack, Carrickmacross, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Seamus Bell as a result of the incident at Main Street, Carrickmacross, on 20 January 2018.

In passing sentence, Judge John Aylmer noted that this was an unprovoked attack in which the accused had followed Mr Bell on the street for at least five metres before striking him. It had been accepted by the defendant that Mr Bell had his hands in his pockets at the time, so the inevitable consequences were that he fell to the ground without the protection of his arms.

Judge Aylmer said there was a high degree of recklessness and culpability on the part of Racys, which meant the matter was in the "mid range" of manslaughter offences and merited a seven-year custodial sentence. Judge Aylmer said he had to take mitigating factors into account, which included Racys’ admissions, guilty plea, cooperation, expressions of remorse and the apology he had given in court.

The judge said he was reducing the sentence to one of five years on that basis, as well as giving Racys credit for the time he had already spent in custody. Mr Bell, who was 35 when the attack occurred, was a well-known sports instructor active in GAA circles in Monaghan and in his native Armagh. He had been celebrating the christening of his four-month-old twin daughters Ava and Cara on the day of the incident.

Mr Bell was brought to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda on the night of the attack and then transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin soon afterwards as his condition deteriorated. He fell into a coma and died on 2 June 2018.

Members of Mr Bell's family, including his father, sisters and brother, gave harrowing accounts of the impact of his death earlier in the hearing. His partner, Edel Tighe, spoke of how they had their whole lives to look forward to and had been so happy at the christening of their daughters.

She said they would never know their father and now she was a 28-year-old single mother who was left only memories. After sentencing, Mr Bell’s family said they were unhappy with the sentence and did not believe justice had been done.

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