Thursday 21 September 2017

Long-term carer for 'vulnerable and reclusive' brothers found bodies 'covered in blood', court hears

Murder accused Alan Cawley. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Murder accused Alan Cawley. Photo: Keith Heneghan

Natasha Reid

A woman who had cared for two elderly brothers for almost a decade has described finding their bodies covered in blood in their Mayo home four years ago.

The murder trial also heard pieces of skin "appeared to have been removed" from the stomach of one of the men.

The evidence was heard yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, where Alan Cawley is on trial. He is charged with murdering both Thomas Blaine and John (Jack) Blaine, who were beaten to death.

The 30-year-old, of Four Winds, Corrinbla, Ballina, Co Mayo, has admitted killing the brothers, one of whom was disabled and was scalded during the assault. However, he has pleaded not guilty to murdering them on July 10, 2013, at New Antrim Street in Castlebar.

Helen Maloney told the court she was employed as a home help by the HSE and had been caring for the Blaine brothers for around nine years when they died.

She described the brothers as "two absolute gentlemen". The prosecuting barrister was then given permission to lead her through her evidence.

Jack Blaine
Jack Blaine

She agreed with him that they were "very vulnerable, reclusive and had speech impediments".

She agreed that Jack Blaine had both a speech and hearing problem, and had a spinal injury from an accident in England many years earlier. He had also suffered from dementia in his last few months.

She added that she used to call to see them three times a day, 365 days a year. "I loved them dearly, and so did the people of Castlebar," she said.

Ms Maloney said she arrived at their house at 7.15am, went into the kitchen and called out to them in the same way she had everyday. "Are you ready to rock and roll?" she said.

She got no answer and looked into Tom Blaine's bedroom, where she saw him lying on the floor, with his legs on the bed.

Ms Maloney then saw a pool of blood on the floor. She raised the alarm and went back into the property and found Jack Blaine on his back on the ground, half in and half out of the house.

"He was also covered in blood," she said. She recalled running out the front door and said she saw Michael 'Rocky' Moran, the owner of the pub across the road.

She told him they were dead and not to go in. She said she then got sick.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, asked if she was satisfied the brothers would never have had the capacity to hurt her.

"The only thing they would have shown me was affection," she replied.

Mr Moran told the court he went into the home and said what he found was "one of the worst sights I've ever seen".

The jury then saw CCTV footage of Alan Cawley's movements around the time of the killing. It showed the accused enter the Blaine home at midnight. Mr Cawley was seen leaving the house an hour and two minutes later.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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