Belfast Telegraph

Accused faces manslaughter trial over 'one-punch' death of Padraig Fox

Padraig Fox was found dead at a flat in Newcastle
Padraig Fox was found dead at a flat in Newcastle

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down man accused of a one-punch killing has been ordered to stand trial for manslaughter.

Donach Rice (21) is solely accused of the manslaughter of Padraig Fox on December 8 last year. He is also jointly accused with two other men of perverting justice.

Standing side-by-side in the dock of Downpatrick Magistrates Court, Rice and his co-accused Nathan Rice (20) and 27-year-old Paul Magennis confirmed they were aware of the charges.

Donach Rice, who is in custody but with an address on the Kilkeel Road in Annalong, faces a total of six charges.

In addition to the manslaughter of Mr Fox on December 8, he is also charged with fraud by false representation by "presenting a betting slip which belonged to another" to Toals Bookmakers.

He also faces two counts of perverting justice by giving police a statement which he knew to be false and by submitting himself to a knife wound "to give the false impression that the wound had been inflicted by self-defence", burglary of the Slieve Donard Hotel and attempted robbery.

Magennis, who is also in custody but who is from Burrendale Park in Newcastle, close to where Mr Fox was killed, is also facing the charge of attempted robbery.

He also faces two counts of perverting justice in that he allegedly allowed himself to be inflicted with a knife wound "following the assault of Padraig Fox to create the false impression that the killing had been committed in self-defence" and also that he "placed a knife under the hand of Padraig Fox" to create the same false impression.

Nathan Rice, a cousin of alleged killer Donach Rice and who is from Saul Street in Downpatrick, faces two charges accusing him of perverting justice by giving a statement to police which he knew to be false, and burglary of the Slieve Donard Hotel, where three bottles of alcohol were stolen.

During a preliminary enquiry, yesterday, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a prima facie case against each of the accused, a submission conceded by their lawyers. Previous courts heard that the charges arose after the body of Mr Fox (29) was found inside a flat on Burrendale Park Road in Newcastle.

Donach Rice is alleged to have "made admissions" during police interviews and his solicitor has previously revealed he has also "expressed remorse" for the death, which he described as a "one-punch matter". Yesterday District Judge Mark McGarrity returned the case to Belfast Crown Court for trial, ordering the three defendants to appear there for their arraignment on September 17.

While Magennis and Donach Rice were remanded into custody, Nathan Rice was freed on continuing bail.

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