The Stipendiary, Mr. EF Hickson, sat at the Police Office, Limerick, yesterday, to inquire into the murder of Maurice O’Keefe, 32, an agricultural laborer, at Kilmurray, near Limerick, on the night of 28 September last. The prisoner, John Enright, was before the Magistrate. Head Constable Feeney conducted the case for the Crown, and the prisoner was defended by Mr. PT Liston, solicitor, Rathkeale. James Dawson, William Eager, and a number of other witnesses were examined, and their evidence was in the main similar to that given at the inquest before the County Coroner, Dr Cleary, on Monday week last, when the jury found that Enright inflicted the blow which caused death, adding a rider that the men present with Enright on the occasion acted in an inhuman manner in leaving O’Keefe by the roadside after he was assaulted to die.
The facts, as disclosed in the evidence, were that Enright, the prisoner, Dawson, Eager, and O’Keefe met on Saturday night in the public house of Frank Doyle, in Clare Street. Enright, Eager, and Dawson are grooms at Shannon View, and they were on their way home at the time of the occurrence. They had a couple of drinks in Doyle’s public house, which they left at 10:00 PM and on the way, O’Keefe asked Enright if he was then as good a man as he was on that night week.
In the result, the men quarreled and boxed on the road with each other three or four times. The final encounter was near Quilty’s Hill, where Enright struck O’Keefe on the head or face, and the man fell forward, never to rise again. Two other men, Griffin and Mulcahy, came up by this time, and O’Keefe was unconscious. He was hauled on to the roadside, failed to answer the questions put to him, and then some of the men, professing to believe that he was acting, left the injured man where his dead body being discovered by a passing carrier on the following Sunday morning.
They all went home and did not report the matter to the police. Eager yesterday swore, as at the inquest that while on the ground Enright struck O’Keefe on the face twice. He also made a kick at the man, but he could not say if it took effect, though the kick was made in the direction of O’Keefe’s head.
At the inquest Dr. Ryan proved that the base of the skull of O’Keefe was fractured, the wound being 6 inches long, and the extravagant flow of blood on the brain which followed was the cause of death. Eager, in answer to Mr. Hickson, said O’Keefe struck the first blow, and both he and Dawson stopped the fighting several times. One blow struck O’Keefe on the right side of the face, and the deceased fell heavily forward on his left side, the head striking the ground first. Evidence having been given as to the finding of the body by the roadside on Saturday morning, the inquiry was adjourned. The prisoner was remanded in custody.
Evening Herald, October 1901