January 10, 2022 1.44 pm This story is over 29 months old

Six years in jail for drunk builder who killed popular Lincoln dad-of-two Darren Munnelly

Darren had been on a night out at the theatre with his mum

A drunk builder who punched and killed popular Lincoln man Darren Munnelly after he asked him to stop shouting in the street has been jailed for six years and six months, Lincoln Crown Court heard on Monday.

Mr Munnelly, 46, had just returned home after taking his mother to the theatre for a retirement present when he was attacked by Declan Grant, 22.

The popular community fundraiser and father-of-two had gone outside to remonstrate with Grant who was shouting outside the home of a former girlfriend.

Grant responded by punching Mr Munnelly twice to the face and left him lying on the ground in Carr Street, Lincoln, just after midnight on July 25.

The second punch immediately incapacitated Mr Munnelly and despite the efforts of neighbours to save him he suffered a fatal haemorrhage.

Mr Munnelly suffered facial injuries consistent with a substantial punch and further wounds to the back of his head after he collapsed to the floor.

Darren Munnelly. | Photo: Facebook

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, told the court there was no doubt Grant was the aggressor and had not been acting in self defence.

The court heard Mr Munnelly had spent the evening “spoiling” his mother by taking her to the theatre as a retirement present.

He also cooked food and delivered it to people in need during the coronavirus pandemic and raised money for the homeless.

Mr Joyce said: “Mr Munnelly had returned home not particularly late after a very respectable evening with his mother when he took exception to Mr Grant.

“He told Mr Grant to stop shouting and disturbing the neighbourhood. Mr Grant’s response was to attack him.”

Grant fled into the home of his former girlfriend and admitted he had a scrap and punched a man. She went outside and tried to help Mr Munnelly.

Tributes line the ground outside flats on Carr Street, where Darren Munnelly was found fatally injured. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite

The court heard Grant was drunk and just two hours earlier had been involved in another altercation with his then girlfriend at a taxi queue in St Mary’s Street, Lincoln, which resulted in two 999 calls.

His attack on Mr Munnelly also occurred just ten days after he was tasered for jumping on a police car.

Mr Joyce read out moving victim impact statements from Mr Munnelly’s mother Karen, his two sons, and his sister Cheryl.

In her statement Mrs Munelly said: “We had such a lovely evening, I can not understand how it ended in such tragedy.”

“In hospital it was unbelievable to see our son in such a state,” she added.

“It is a life sentence for us, losing our beloved son, Darren.”

Mr Munnelly’s eldest son Sean, who regularly watched Manchester United and played snooker with his father, added: “My whole family cannot understand what happened, only on a night out with his mother.”

Grant, of St Mary’s Street, Lincoln, admitted the manslaughter of Mr Munnelly on July 25, 2021. He had originally been charged with murder.

Gordon Aspden QC, mitigating, told the court Grant had written a letter in which he expressed true remorse.

In the letter Grant wrote: “I am truly, truly sorry for what I did.”

Grant added that all he could hope is that in a very long time Mr Munnelly’s family could forgive him.

The court heard Grant was placed in local authority care at the age of eleven after a family break-up but later moved to Lincoln from Scunthorpe and worked hard in the building trade.

Darren Munnelly was a much-loved and very well-respected member of the community in Lincoln.

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst made it plain no sentence could put a value on the priceless life of Mr Munnelly.

But the Judge told Grant his actions were aggravated by his previous convictions, the use of two blows and his drunk behaviour in a residential street.

Judge Hirst told him: “Outside your former girlfriend’s home you were drunk and shouting for her to let you in.

“Darren Munnelly was a neighbour. He came out to remonstrate with you and to ask you to stop shouting in the street.

“Your response was to punch him twice to the face.”

Darren was seen as “a true westender” by those who were close to him. | Photo: Ellis Karran for The Lincolnite