Thursday 21 September 2017

Mairead Moran died from two stab wounds that penetrated her heart and other organs, court hears

Mairead Moran and, inset, Shane Smyth
Mairead Moran and, inset, Shane Smyth
Mairead Moran
Shane Smyth

Andrew Phelan

MAIREAD Moran died from two stab wounds to her body that penetrated her heart and other internal organs, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the jury in the trial of Shane Smyth that Ms Moran (26) had suffered a total of eight stab injuries in the attack and another six cuts.

Mairead Moran
Mairead Moran

She determined that the assault most likely came from the side rather than in a face-to-face encounter.

She also noted that injuries to her hands suggested “struggling or defensive actions.”

Prof Cassidy was giving evidence this morning in the trial of Mr Smyth, who denies murder, by reason of insanity.

Mr Smyth fatally stabbed Ms Moran with a dagger after dragging her out of the store where she worked at Market Cross Shopping Centre, Kilkenny, on May 8, 2014.

Shane Smyth
Shane Smyth

The jury has already heard Mr Smyth (29), with an address at McGuinness House, Evans Lane, Kilkenny was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and believed Ms Moran was part of a conspiracy against him.

Today, Prof Cassidy said she performed a post mortem examination on Ms Moran’s body in the mortuary of Waterford Regional Hospital on May 9, 2014.

In her examination, she noted eight stab wounds and six incised wounds or cuts to Ms Moran’s head, left arm, chest, right back and right hand.

Two of these were deep stab wounds to the trunk which had penetrated internal organs.

One of the stab wounds had continued through the left arm into the left side of the chest to penetrate the heart and left lung.

A stab wound to the right lower back had penetrated the right kidney and liver.

Both of these were potentially fatal injuries, Prof Cassidy said, reading from her report.

“The injury to the heart in  particular would cause fairly rapid collapse and could cause death due to arrythmia or cardiac failure. She had also lost a lot of blood internally,” she said.

“The pattern of injuries to the left arm and right hand suggest movement of the arms due to struggling or defensive actions,” the pathologist said.

“Death was due to stab wounds to the trunk (causing) injuries to the heart, left lung, right kidney and liver,” she concluded.

Prof Cassidy noted the deceased had been fatally injured in a knife attack. She said the injuries were consistent with “a blade with a single sharp cutting edge.”

A coroner’s report stated the circumstances were that it appeared Ms Moran was stabbed multiple times and the main injury was a puncture wound to her heart. The report stated Ms Moran had been brought to St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, arriving at the Emergency Department at 9.02pm with blood "gushing out" of a wound to her chest..

She was intubated, shocked and a thoracotomy performed to open her chest. Holes in the heart were closed but attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul O’Connell said he was asked to prepare a report on behalf of the accused.

He was in agreement with the conclusions of a report that had been carried out by Dr Brenda Wright, at the request of the prosecution.

Dr O'Connell also interviewed Mr Smyth and gave similar evidence of delusional beliefs displayed by the accused.

Asked why he had gone to talk to Ms Moran on the day, the accused had said: “She wanted my blood, I was kind of curious as to why she was looking for it."

Speaking about the attack, the accused had said he went into the shop and there was nobody else present.

“I asked why she wanted a vial of my blood while we were dating, she screamed ‘get out’ and called security and started crying,” he had said.

He had asked security to give him a good reason why he should leave and he was told “the lady is upset.”

“I said I just wanted to know why she wanted a vial of my blood,” he said he told the security guard.

He left and walked around the centre to “deceive” the guards.

He said when he went back, he stabbed Ms Moran, but said while the autopsy said it was 11 times, he thought it was at most two or three times.

Asked what he felt, he said he did not know, then added: “killing was not on my mind.”

He explained he had always carried the knife because he was paranoid because someone had been outside his house “threatening me with a sword.”

He said when he stabbed her she fell down and the security guard came over. He looked at his knife full of blood and dropped it.

When he left the scene he “did not think that he had killed Ms Moran and thought that he would be arrested for assault,” Dr O’Connell told Colman Cody SC, for the defence.

His evidence was continuing this afternoon.

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