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

By Michael Donnelly

Published 29/05/2015

Jason McGovern died the day after a one-punch attack in Omagh
Jason McGovern died the day after a one-punch attack in Omagh
The accused, Mark Donnelly

The trial of a Co Tyrone man accused of the unlawful killing of a Co Monaghan teenager, has been told of the frantic efforts to revive the 19-year-old.

Dungannon Crown Court has already learned that Jason McGovern died from bleeding on his brain, in the bedroom of a friend in Emyvale, Monaghan, after being helped home following a so-called one-punch assault in a carpark after a night out in Omagh.

Denying throwing that single punch which ultimately led to his unlawful death in the early hours of New Years' Eve, 2012, is 23-year-old Mark Donnelly, from Greencastle Road, in the Co Tyrone town.

Details of the efforts to revive Jason were given in several witness statements read to trial judge Her Honour Judge McReynolds and the jury of eight men and four women by prosecution lawyer Simon Reid.

The court heard how Jason's friend ran to a neighbour's home just before one in the afternoon, telling him that "he, (Jason) is cold , he is cold”.

On returning to the house, Jason's friend again attempted to give him CPR, but his neighbour, who'd guessed “something terrible had just happened”, believed that the teenager was already dead.

In his statement the neighbour told of seeing Jason lying on a duvet on the bedroom floor in his boxer shorts. There was purple and blue bruising on his head and down the side of his body, and blood was coming from his mouth.

The court heard that all efforts and attempts to revive were finally halted when signs of rigor mortis were detected.  Jason was officially pronounced dead at 1.57pm by a local doctor.

Mr Reid also read statements from a witness in the Weigh Inn car park in Kelvin Street, Omagh where the teenager was attacked hours earlier following a night out with friends.

The statement told of how he helped lift  "an unconscious" Jason McGovern into a Volkswagen taxi waiting to collect him and his friends to drive them back to to Co Monaghan shortly after 2am.

He said while he stood waiting for a taxi himself, he heard a “very loud thud that seemed as if someone had hit the roof of a car.

“We noticed a young man lying on the road with his feet pointing towards Sally’s (bar) and his head towards the car park.

“I could see clearly from six to seven feet away that he was unconscious.

“We lifted him into the taxi, his eyes were glazed. He was unresponsive”.

Another witness spoke of the female taxi driver telling them to, “get him into the taxi”, and not let him sleep as he had just been hit on the head.

The witness said while the teenager had blood on his forehead, it “did not seem serious”.

Another taxi driver, who did not see any fighting, said in his statement that he saw a “fellow being lifted into a taxi", and that "usually when people are drunk they try and get up off the ground, but this lad did not".

The trial continues on Monday.

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