14 February 2014 No Comments by The Northern Standard

THE TRIAL of a 22-year-old Castleblayney man accused of murdering a young musician from the Kingscourt area in the summer of 2011 has heard that the victim was knocked down by his own car, in an attempt to make an earlier assault look like a “hit and run” accident.

Conor McClelland, of Cullentrabane, Laragh, Castleblayney is denying a charge of murdering Gavin O’Connor, who was then aged 22, in an incident beside Lisdoonan village. But the former Inver College student has admitted assaulting Mr O’Connor and causing him harm.

Mr O’Connor, of Ballynaclose, Kilmainhamwood, Co Meath, a rock guitar player who had previously attended the Patrician High School in Carrickmacross, was found seriously injured on a minor road at about 5.30am on Saturday 4th June 2011. He was pronounced dead at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda at 6.43pm on the same day.

Both men had attended a June bank holiday music festival in Carrickmacross the previous night, and Mr O’Connor had later gone to sleep in his car, which was parked at Farney Street. He was seen on CCTV turning the corner from Main Street towards his car at 3.21am.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy was told that the defendant, Mr McClelland, admitted getting into the same car and driving it off. CCTV footage shown to the court showed him heading towards Farney Street at 4.27am.

In interviews with gardai, the defendant had stated that he stopped the …

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