Golfer beaten to death after offering pair drink

5 May 2010 
Tom Worden
Accused 'sorry' for family

Two men beat an Irish holidaymaker to death after he offered to buy them a drink, a court heard yesterday.  Diego Dias, 20, and 28-year-old Jones Sousa dos Santos admitted fighting with businessmen Paul Houston, 51, after a night out in the seaside town of Alvor in Portugal.  But the men, both Brazilian, denied murder when they appeared in a court in the town of Portimao yesterday.

The victim's widow Celine watched from the public gallery as the accused described brawling with Mr Houston in the early hours of September 6 last year.  The father of four, who was president of Greencastle Golf Club in Co Donegal, was on a golfing holiday with his wife and friends Philip and Marian Delvin when he was attacked.  Dias, who was 19 at the time, said he was too drunk to remember exactly what happened.

He told the panel of three judges: "The only thing I remember is seeing Jones hitting him and I went to tell him, 'Stop, stop!' "I don't know if I kicked him." Sousa dos Santos claimed he acted in self-defence and told the court: "I tripped him up and we fell on the floor.  "I got up before him and kicked him in the neck.  "I want to apologise to the family. It wasn't my intention to hurt him.  "Our mistake was not calling anyone to help him afterwards."

The court heard the two men ran off in one direction, only to realise it was a dead end.  They then doubled back and passed Mr Houston's body as he lay in a pool of blood on the floor.

The victim, who owned Houston shoe shop in Strand Road, Derry, was alone when he met the defendants in a bar, the court heard.  Barman Nelson Silva, 24, told the court: "Paul came in and offered them a drink which they didn't accept.  "They [the defendants] weren't extremely drunk, they were just merry."  Mr Houston's wife and friends had gone back to their accommodation after a meal but he had stayed out at a karaoke bar.  The grandfather of one, who was a regular visitor to the Algarve, was found in an alleyway near the waterfront.

The panel of three judges will give their verdicts in the same court in Portimao on May 20.

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