GARDAÍ last night refused to say whether the case into the death of Brian Murphy is to be reopened despite the fact that the person who delivered the fatal blow has still not been charged.

Although four convictions were secured in the case, it is clear that none of those put on trial for the manslaughter of Brian Murphy delivered the fatal blow that killed the 18-year-old outside Club Anabel in August 2000.

During the trial, the state pathologist, Professor John Harbison, said that Murphy was most likely killed by a kick to the head. Dermot Laide was found guilty of the manslaughter of Brian Murphy, but there was no suggestion that he kicked the victim in the head.

Prosecution senior counsel Edward Comyn had stated in court that as Murphy lay on the ground, he was kicked in the body and head by a group of up to six people. Witnesses also recall seeing a group of up to six attacking Murphy as he lay on the ground. During evidence it became clear that none of the four accused of manslaughter had kicked Murphy in the head ? with one of the accused, Andrew Frame, found to have played no part in the attack.

Gardaí yesterday declined to reveal whether the investigation into the death of Murphy was still open or whether they had identified anyone else as having taken part in the assault.

Despite Professor Harbison's assertion that Murphy was probably killed by a kick to the head, no witness was able to identify anyone who carried out such an act. Three of the accused ? Dermot Laide, Desmond Ryan and Sean Mackey ? admit to either having punched Murphy or kicked him in the body area, while the fourth accused, Andrew Frame, was found to have played no role in the attack.

Giving testimony to the court, Dougie McGovern, a former student of St Conleth's College in Ballsbridge, said that he saw Murphy receiving a strong kick to the head as he fell to the ground. McGovern described the shoe which connected with Murphy's head as having a black buckle.

"The guy wearing it kicked the guy in the red shirt [Murphy] as he was falling. . . it connected with his face and slightly altered the direction of the fall, " he said. He added that the person who inflicted the kick had "gelled up, spiky hair". None of the four accused of the manslaughter of Murphy were wearing buckled shoes or fit the description.

Dermot Laide was found guilty of manslaughter and violent disorder, while Desmond Ryan and Sean Mackey were both found guilty of the latter charge. The jury failed to reach a verdict on Mackey's manslaughter charge. Andrew Frame was cleared on all charges.