The family of the man who died after a single punch hugged the accused as he walked out of court
The family For a man who died two years after sustaining life-changing injuries in a single punch attack, their attacker hugged their son while he was being sentenced in court.
Aidan Coyle, 48, of McGurk Villa, Gulavof, Ko Deere pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Michel O’Neill and was given a three-year suspended sentence.
At one point, he stood on a chair to get a better view of musician or instrumentalist He plays, but soon security tells him to get off.
The security man was talking to Mr. O’Neill outside the pub when Aidan Coyle approached him and was talking to him.
Mr. Coyle threw a single punch at O’Neill after what Judge Sean O’Donabhine called “misleading interference in what he believed to be an evolving situation”.
Mr. O’Neill hit his head off the pavement.
Coyle rushed to the aid of the injured limb and put him in a recovery position until the ambulance arrived.
He co-worked with Gardai and provided his details to Garda James Keane upon his arrival at the scene.
Mr. O’Neill was placed in an induced coma in hospital for two weeks and remained at University Hospital Cork for another month.
His family said he then walked a long road to recovery with the help of loved ones.
Tragically, two years after the assault he died at his home on March 15, 2019.
In an emotional letter, his family said they had forgiven Coyle for assaulting him.
“We, the Michel family, intend to follow Michel’s approach of kindness and understanding.
“We forgive this man’s actions and hope we can all find peace moving forward from this.”
Mr. Coyle sheds tears after a three-year suspended prison sentence was issued in the case.
Mr. O’Neill’s parents hugged him and the three left the courtroom together.
In a victim impact statement, the family said they wanted to hear Michel’s sweet voice.
While Michel did not talk much about what happened that night, he did talk about not wanting anything to happen to the man who hit him.
Michael felt no anger or resentment towards him.
“He felt enough had happened and just wanted (he and Mr. Coyle) to be able to move on and put this in the past – that was the kind of man Michael was, he was a good man.”
Judge Shane Dunabhine said he should have considered assault causing serious harm a separate matter from the fact that Mr. O’Neill’s later death.
The judge said that while the family had expressed their opinion, it was up to the court to decide the case.
He stressed the importance of noting the absence of hostility between the two men.
“He (O’Neill) made some recovery and expressed his own opinion about what happened tonight and said it had happened enough for the defendant and he didn’t want to get more of it.
“His parents spoke to the defendant and were of the same opinion.
“They sincerely accept Coyle’s remorse and accept the turmoil he is going through.”
Judge O’Donabhine used his last day of sentencing criminal cases in Cork before his retirement to once again reiterate the dangers of one-punch assaults.
“This is a classic case of catastrophic injuries from a single punch attack. Cases like this are a major concern to the court.”
The judge added that he could see that the defendant’s remorse and shock were real, adding that Coyle also “suffered” for his actions.