Thursday 24 August 2017

Elderly brothers were victims of 'overkill' in their home, court told

Alan Cawley. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Alan Cawley. Photo: Keith Heneghan

Natasha Reid

A man said he poured boiling water over a disabled pensioner and beat the victim's elderly brother because he thought that, because they were living together, "maybe" they were child molesters.

Alan Cawley's murder trial also heard details of the extensive injuries suffered by the elderly brothers in what the State pathologist described as "overkill".

The 30-year-old is on trial at the Central Criminal Court charged with murdering Thomas Blaine and John (Jack) Blaine. Both had special needs and speech impediments.

Mr Cawley, of Four Winds, Corrinbla, Ballina, Co Mayo, has admitted killing the brothers. However, he has pleaded not guilty to murdering them on July 10, 2013, at New Antrim Street in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Sergeant Hugh O'Donnell testified yesterday that he interviewed Mr Cawley following his arrest.

He told prosecuting counsel the accused had initially denied involvement. However, he said his memory came back when gardaí showed him CCTV footage of him entering the Blaine home with Jack Blaine.

Mr Cawley said he had gone upstairs looking for sleeping tablets or drugs, but couldn't find any. He came back downstairs and Jack Blaine was in the kitchen.

Read More: Accused poured boiling water over pensioner as he thought he might be a child molester, court hears

"He was very clingy and he wouldn't speak properly so I asked: 'What's wrong? What are you looking for?'" he said. "I felt the best idea was to show the man that men can't always get what they want ... that if I inflicted some pain, it would make up for everything in the past."

He said he beat him with a stick before making his way to the front door. However, he saw Thomas Blaine in a bed at the front of the house.

"I thought that if they were living together, maybe that the two of them were child molesters," he said.

He said he hit Thomas Blaine with a stick about 25 times before returning to his brother. He said he thought it was a "fitting punishment" to pour boiling water on Jack Blaine.

Mr Cawley said he did this, after first waiting for a kettle of water to boil.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy carried out the post-mortem exams on both brothers. She gave Thomas Blaine's cause of death as blood loss, brain trauma, chest trauma, and choking on blood due to blunt injuries to his head, face and chest.

She outlined "severe and extensive" injuries to his head, neck, chest and limbs. She said he could have been struck up to 12 times to the head, five times to the chest, six or more times to the hands and arms, and a number of times to the hip and thigh. She said the pattern of trauma and blood staining at the scene suggested the initial assault took place while he was lying on his bed and he had attempted to defend himself.

The cause of Jack Blaine's death was blunt force trauma to the head. She explained he appeared to have made fairly feeble attempts to defend himself, which was most likely due to his physical disability. Under cross-examination by defence counsel, she said it was difficult to categorise a type of killing based on the perpetrator's state of intoxication.

"However, in this case there appears to have been what pathologists call 'overkill'," she explained. She was re-examined by prosecution counsel, who asked about the level of violence. "This was the extreme of violence," she replied.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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