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Mother of 'one-punch' victim Jason McGovern hears details of her son's death in court

By Michael Donnelly

Published 02/06/2015

Tragic: Jason McGovern
Tragic: Jason McGovern

The disabled mother of a teenager who died after a single punch was in court yesterday to hear a pathologist tell how her son died.

Wheelchair user Kathleen McGovern was in Dungannon Crown Court where she heard that when 19-year-old Jason McGovern was felled by the punch, it fractured his thinner than normal skull, lacerating an artery in his head which bled onto his brain.

On trial accused of the teen's unlawful death in the early hours of New Year's Eve, 2012, is Mark Donnelly (23), from Greencastle Road, Omagh.

Earlier, Judge McReynolds and the jury heard from the Republic's Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis. They heard that it was "more likely" that the blow which ultimately caused Jason's death was the single punch which knocked him out, rather than any other attack he sustained after a night out in Omagh that evening.

Defence QC Sean Doran had suggested to Dr Curtis that an earlier incident, in which Jason hit the bonnet of a car, also "had the potential" of causing such an injury.

Dr Curtis had agreed with Mr Doran that, given the teenager's thinner than normal skull, "less force or trauma was needed" to cause the fracture, and that "an impact with any solid unyielding surface had the potential to cause such an injury".

However, in re-examination by prosecuting lawyer Simon Reid, the Deputy State Pathologist said that he thought the blow resulting in the impact on the ground was the "more likely" as it was the only blow Jason received which "knocked him out".

The sequence of events began when Jason was punched, which propelled him to the ground, where his skull impacted on the hard surface, causing a fracture which, in turn, tore the artery and briefly knocked him out. He would have appeared to make a recovery, said Dr Curtis, but there would have been ongoing bleeding.

The case continues today.

Read more:

Omagh one-punch trial: Court told of friend's desperate attempt to save Jason McGovern  

Omagh one-punch trial: Accused may not have meant to kill Jason McGovern but he is responsible, court told

Jason McGovern: Witness may have been 'mistaken' over punch accused  

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