TRIBUTES have been paid to a Rowner man who was killed in a savage attack while visiting his mum and newborn niece in Ireland.
Richard O’Leary died at Cork University Hospital last month after being found unconscious in a street in Dungarvan following a night out. It is believed the 36-year-old, of Sampson Close, was viciously attacked, suffering a fractured skull and a swelling on the brain. He was placed in a medically-induced coma but died five days later on Friday, March 23.
Mr O’Leary was a regular at the Fox Tavern pub in Gosport. Tammy Kent, a barmaid at the North Street venue, said she was heartbroken by the news and is staging a memorial pool tournament in his honour on Sunday. ‘We were all devastated when we heard he had died,’ she said. ‘It was a macabre day because we lost another regular the day before.
‘It was just a horrible day. He was only out there to see his mum and his newborn niece. People are saying if he didn’t go, it wouldn’t have happened.’
As reported, Fox regular Raymond ‘Danny’ Daniels died last month and the pub rallied to raise money in his name as he had no known family.
Kris Walsh was Mr O’Leary’s flatmate and had known him since childhood. The 38-year-old said: ‘I was devastated. He was a good man, really hard working.
‘He was my best friend. I feel like I’ve lost my right arm.’
A 29-year-old man was arrested by Irish police in relation to the suspected attack, but was later released without charge.
Mr O’Leary, a builder, had been out with friends as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations. His sister, Tina, said her family had been overwhelmed with messages of support. She said he had decided not to go to a nightclub with friends after day watching sport.
Speaking to Irish radio station WLRFM, she said her brother was found between 1am and 1.30am with passersby performing CPR on him before paramedics arrived.
‘When we were eventually allowed in he was in a coma, lying on the bed with wires and things coming out of him – he had swelling and bruising to his face and a black eye as well,’ she said.
Mr O’Leary would have turned 37 on Sunday. To mark this, regulars at The Fox Tavern are organising a pool tournament, with all funds going towards a memorial bench for Mr O’Leary.
So far 32 people have signed up, raising about £400. But Tammy is hoping others will come forward. She added: ‘Richard was lovely. He was a special guy. He was bubbly and vibrant. We all miss him.’
The pool tournament begins at 12.30pm. Entry is £5. There will also be a raffle.
Mr O’Leary was buried in Ireland. He leaves mother Catherine, brother David, and sisters Sandra, Tina and Wendy.