23-year-old Ray Gralton has been charged with murder after hurling beer cans at his girlfriend, 28-year-old mother of two, Sara Staunton’s head during a very heated two-hour fight. The two of them had both purportedly been drinking fairly heavily prior to the incident.
Mr. Gralton has had 12 prior convictions and had been in what was described as a ‘turbulent relationship’ with Sara for a year before her death in December of 2013.
Detective Sergeant Gary Walsh stated, “There had been instances of domestic violence during the course of the year. There was also a strong culture of alcohol abuse and intoxication on both sides.”

Prosecutor Paddy McCarthy, sounding more like defense than prosecution, told the court that Sara’s best friend Grace McKenna had been in the home the night of her death and had been concerned about her behavior. She added, “Sara was fairly drunk at the time, she was grand on beer but couldn’t handle [liquor].” She also revealed that Sara had thrown a computer at Ray and that that may have facilitated the events that unfolded.

Grace had stated that the two had been arguing for ‘around two hours’ with two to three physical altercations occurring during that time. She added that she believed Sara had kicked Ray before he threw the cans of beer at her.

After the final fight, according to prosecutor McCarthy, Sara had gone to bed. It was the next morning when Ray tried to wake her up, but couldn’t, that what had become of her was discovered. She was pronounced dead on December 14, 2013.

Although Ray was charged with murder, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The Director of Public Prosecutions at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court accepted his plea.

Ray admitted hitting Sara and ‘using his fist,’ but it was the beer cans that were determined to be the likely cause of death.

According to Ray, Sara’s death being because of his own actions “will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

The judge, Paul Carney, remanded Ray to custody until April 13th for his sentencing.

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