Man sentenced to 12 years for road rage attack23/04/2012 - 13:02:15
An Irish motorist was jailed for 12 years today for the manslaughter of a British man in a road rage attack.
Construction worker Raymond Bates died in hospital four days after being beaten around the head with a hurley stick at Tritonville Road in Sandymount on September 26, 2010.
Karl Donohoe, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was jailed at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.
His victim, a father-of-three from Peterlee, Co Durham, was working in Ireland as a quality control inspector on a gas pipeline at the time of the attack.
Mr Bates' widow, Brenda, shouted "Yes" when the sentence was read out before she burst into tears and had to be helped from the courtroom.
The last two years of the jail term were suspended on condition of a €1,000 bond and on the basis that Donohoe stays away from the Bates family.
The court had previously heard that Donohoe looked possessed during the attack.
Mr Bates had drunk up to 10 pints of Guinness in a pub before driving his Mitsubishi Pajero and tailgating and flashing Donohoe, who was travelling with his 18-month-old daughter.
Witnesses said Donohoe stopped in Irishtown, where both drivers got out of their cars and had an argument on the street, with Mr Bates shouting: "Don't be braking like a f****** fanny, just drive your f****** car."
Shortly afterwards, Mr Bates overtook Donohoe's Toyota Rav 4 and mounted a central island before cutting in on the Dublin man, who later claimed he feared he was going to be rammed off the road.
When the cars later stopped, Donohoe took a hurley and hit the Mitsubishi Pajero as it blocked his path, and then hit Mr Bates several times when he got out of the car, including a fatal blow to the left temple as he lay defenceless on the ground.
As Mr Bates lay in a coma in hospital, Donohoe told investigators he hoped the victim "f****** dies", as he got what he deserved.
Mr Justice Paul Carney told the packed courtroom he was imposing the lengthy jail term on four grounds:
"The accused appointed himself sheriff and enforcer in respect to Mr Bates's bad and drunken driving," he said.
"The savagery of the beating of the beating administered, the accused words in the aftermath of the case, which can but be airbrushed out of it [and] the devastating effects on the family."
Donohoe's partner and family cried as he was led away by prison officers.
The judge said it was the second road-rage homicide to have appeared before him in a short space of time.
"These cases outrage the community in a way that no other does," he continued.
"I know this from the signed, addressed, stamped hate mail which I received after the last case, because of the menacing nature of the correspondence to An Garda Síochána.
"I have not and I am not dealing with a case of murder like my correspondence called it.
"The DPP accepted a plea of manslaughter which is a wholly different crime capable of carrying a suspended sentence."
Outside the court, a grief-stricken Mrs Bates and her sons, Paul, Mark and Carl, said they were happy with the sentence.
"It will never be enough but we're happy," she said.
Paul paid tribute to his father.
"He was a great dad, he was a friend and he was a hard worker most of all - he worked away to support his family," he said.
In a statement, Mrs Bates' sister, Vivienne Sanderson, said the family have been scarred by the images of Mr Bates being brought home in a coffin.
"It doesn't matter how we worded it, murder or manslaughter, Karl Donohoe has been punished for the death of their dad, her husband, he's been her partner since she was 16 years old," she said on behalf of the family.
"Karl Donohoe has not only destroyed our family, but he has also destroyed his own.
"As a family we hope he will be as big and proud now as he was when he told the gardai that their dad deserved to die.
"The sentence he's been given will never be enough to ease the pain or make up for the loss that we are suffering or that his own child is now going to suffer.
"With him to proceed to beat our dad up makes us think he had no understanding of how a real family man should be."
Ms Sanderson added that it was beyond the family how a man could carry out such an act of violence with his own child with him.
She said Mr Bates' grandchildren will now never know their grandfather.
"He came to work in Ireland to help provide for his family, which he has done all his life," she said.
"Having to go through this nightmare of seeing him lifeless in Beaumont Hospital, he came home in a coffin, and these images will scar our minds for the rest of our lives."
The family thanked the people of Ireland for the hundreds of cards and condolences messages sent after the killing.
"We are now going home to find some way of rebuilding our lives," Ms Sanderson added.
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