Man assaulted student before gangland shooting, court hears

A man serving a life sentence for murder took part in an unprovoked assault on a young student a month before carrying out a gangland shooting, a court has heard.

Peter Kenny (aged 29) of McCarthy’s Terrace, Rialto pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Greg Merrin at the Mansion night club, Spawell Complex, Templeogue on January 24, 2009.

He was sentenced to three and a half years for the attack by Judge Patricia Ryan.

Kenny was found guilty at the Central Criminal Court last July of murdering father-of-three John Carroll at Grumpy Jack’s pub in the Coombe on February 18th, 2009.

Garda Ciaran McDermott told Mr Colm O'Briain BL, prosecuting, that Mr Merrin had gone to the club with a group of friends who were celebrating a 21st birthday that night.

At around 2am one of the friends was chatting to a girl he had met when Kenny confronted him and Mr Merrin and a row broke out.

Gda McDermott said that “out of the blue” Kenny struck Mr Merrin to the head with his right hand and a second attacker joined in.

The court heard that while no weapon was found this second man, who has since died, was seen carrying out a slashing movement on the victim.

The victim fell to the floor and was dragged towards the bar by Kenny, who stood over him and began swinging punches on him with both hands. Bouncers intervened and held Kenny, while the second man went to throw a chair or table into the crowd.

The court heard that the attack had a profound effect on Mr Merrin, who was left with permanent scarring on his head and along his upper arm.

Mr Dean Kelly BL, defending, said the assault was an “unprovoked attack that escalated suddenly” and that Kenny wanted to offer an apology to the victim.

Judge Ryan said that Kenny has 34 previous convictions including the one for murder but that his involvement in this attack was less than the other person involved.

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