John Paul McDonagh murder accused 'entitled to defend himself,' court told

Joseph Joyce.
Joyce at a previous court hearing.

The trial of a man accused of a horrific murder has heard how he was "fully entitled to defend himself".

Defence for Joseph Joyce argued had he not tried to protect himself, he "might well be dead today".

John Paul McDonagh needed his leg amputated during emergency surgery to try to save his life after being stabbed with a slash hook during a violent street fight in Enniskillen in 2020. Joesph Joyce 31 of Clon Elagh Drive, Londonderry denies the murder.

On Friday his defence made closing submission.

"This was not a fight," his barrister argued.

"What sort of fight lines up three men armed with lethal weapons on one side and a man, a pregnant woman and children on the other ... this was a brutal and determined attack on Joe Joyce'.

John McDonagh

John Paul McDonagh, 18, was rushed to the South West Acute Hospital on the 11 April. He died from his injuries two days later.

The trial has been told how a row between two families escalated into a street fight outside Joyce's home. Joyce's defence claim he felt under "mortal" threat after the McDonaghs allegedly said they would go to his house and burn it down with him and his wife inside. His barrister also described how as the McDonaghs entered Coolcullen Meadow the CCTV showed how a "child in a nappy was paralysed with fear".

"The fight and terror were brought to him (Joyce) ... there is no evidence that Joseph Joyce invited this so called fight or provoked this so called fight ... He had to act quickly to defend himself, his family and his home.

"Everything he did was defensive." The court also heard how Joyce told police he was "sincerely sorry" for John McDonagh's death and for the loss his family have suffered and that he was genuinely terrified for his own life. His defence told the jury this was a "complete case of self defence" a jury is ever likely to hear.

The trial continues.