John Paul McDonagh: Stabbing 'captured on CCTV and mobile footage'

By Julian Fowler
South West Reporter, BBC News NI

  • Published
John Paul McDonagh was seriously injured at Coolcullen Meadow in Enniskillen and died on Monday morningImage source, PSNI
Image caption,
John Paul McDonagh was seriously injured at Coolcullen Meadow in Enniskillen and died on Monday morning

A man has appeared in court charged with murdering 18-year-old John Paul McDonagh who died after a weekend stabbing in County Fermanagh.

Mr McDonagh was found with serious leg wounds in Coolcullen Meadow, Enniskillen, on Saturday and died on Monday.

The court was told the accused, Joseph Joyce, 29, from Coolcullen Meadow, claimed he acted in self-defence.

Mr Joyce was remanded in custody after bail was refused.

As well as the murder charge, he is accused of possession of an offensive weapon and wounding another man with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

His solicitor told the court that Mr Joyce admitted his involvement and that he had caused the injuries, but claimed he was acting in self defence.

The court sitting in Dungannon heard the incident was captured on a neighbour’s CCTV as well as mobile phone footage.

A detective described what happened as “very violent... it was only going to end in death".

He argued that Mr Joyce could have left the scene to avoid a confrontation.

“I believe he had the option to avoid the inevitable in this case," the police officer said.

A defence solicitor said Mr Joyce armed himself with a weed slasher - also described as a slash hook or bull hook - as he believed the deceased and his family were trying to cause him serious harm.

He said they were armed with a 12-inch knife, a garden spade, a garden hoe and a bottle of liquid which may have been acid.

The solicitor told the court Mr Joyce was terrified and believed he had to fight for his own life.

He added that Mr Joyce expressed his deep remorse and regret that Mr McDonagh had died.

Image caption,
Police at the scene of the incident on Sunday

“He claims he didn’t intend to kill him or cause serious injury and is sincerely sorry for the loss to the McDonagh family."

The court heard police are concerned about a feud in the traveller community and Mr Joyce had been visited by the Travellers Mediation Group to try and defuse the situation.

The district judge refused bail, saying “the court has heard the background to this unsavoury and indeed tragic event in which a young man lost his life".

The judge added: “The defendant has been described as a bare-knuckle boxer and footage exists of his conduct calling people out to fight.

“He was armed with a slash hook. Police have the benefit of the entire incident captured on CCTV and this will be played in due course at trial.

“It’s said this is a self-defence case, but police say he had ample opportunity to exit the scene and avoid confrontation."

The judge added it was unfortunate that the word "feud" had been used in the case.

“I am all too familiar with the implications of so-called feuds in the traveller community. I personally see it as a stain on the traveller community," the judge said.

“I’m glad a mediation group is at work to terminate any future activity in connection with this incident.”

An application for bail was denied over concerns about the risk of absconding, interference with witnesses and re-offending, as well as a threat to Mr Joyce’s life.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Enniskillen Court by video link on 11 May.