Belfast Telegraph

Killer 'tried to save drowning victim'

By Michael Donnelly

A bodybuilder said to have put his own life in danger trying to save a drowning man he had earlier chased and assaulted will be sentenced for the unlawful killing before Christmas.

Antrim Crown Court heard that 26-year-old Darren Joseph Casey from Claragh Hill Grange, Kilrea stripped off and jumped into the River Bann in an attempt to save 21-year-old Ballymena man Owen Gerard McKeown after they had had a fight on May 5, 2012.

Prosecuting QC Terence Mooney told Judge Gordon Kerr QC while it was accepted Casey did not intend Mr McKeown's death, by his unlawful act of striking him, and his guilty plea to manslaughter, he accepted responsibilty for his death.

Defence QC Martin O'Rourke said it was a tragic and unfortunate case, in which a remorseful Casey had put his own life in danger. Mr O'Rourke said that Casey accepted that his assault on Mr McKeown went beyond self-defence, giving rise to the unlawful act leading to Mr McKeown's death.

Adjourning the case, Judge Kerr said he wished to fully consider all of the evidence and would sentence Casey, in just over a fortnight.

A post-mortem report on Mr McKeown showed his cause of death was drowning.

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