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Harrods workers who beat homeless man to death set to be jailed

Desmond O'Beirne never regained consciousness and died of a brain injury six months later

Chiara Giordano
Friday 08 February 2019 11:31 GMT
CCTV video shows moment Desmond O'Beirn is assaulted in Trafalgar Square before later dying from his injuries

A pair of workmates who fatally attacked a homeless man after finishing their shifts at Harrods are due to be sentenced.

Agency workers Lucas Antunes and Luis Abella had finished shifts at the prestigious department store when they set upon 51-year-old Desmond O'Beirne at about midnight on 3 June, 2017, Trafalgar Square.

London's Old Bailey heard Mr O’Beirne initially threatened to “shank” the pair after he asked for a cigarette and they said they had none.

But the victim was seen in CCTV footage to be walking away when Antunes, 22, punched him in the head, sending him to the ground. Abella, also 22, appeared to land a flying kick.

Mr O’Beirne never recovered consciousness and died from a brain injury on 20 December, 2017.

Last year, police offered £20,000 to anyone who could help track down the culprits.

Following the appeal, Antunes, of Tottenham, north London, was tracked down by authorities in the United States and returned to face justice in Britain.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter while Abella, from Lambeth, south London, admitted attempted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Desmond O'Beirne, 51, was fatally attacked by two men in Trafalgar Square on 3 June, 2017. He never regained consciousness and later died from a brain injury on 20 December, 2017. (Metropolitan Police)

He had originally faced a manslaughter charge but it changed to the lesser charge following a review.

Mr O'Beirne who was originally from Ireland, was said to have had an itinerant lifestyle. His sister Vivienne Folan lived in Wales.

In April, Ms Folan said: 'My brother Desmond was hard-working and larger than life. He was on a night out in Trafalgar Square when he was brutally and viciously attacked by two cowards who then calmly walked away and left him for dead."

The defendants will be sentenced by Judge Paul Dodgson at the Old Bailey.

A Harrods spokesman said the defendants were not members of staff but were employed by Buzz Retail, which provides workers for demonstrations within the store.

Both worked there for less than a year, in 2017.

Press Association contributed to this report.

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