Sunday 1 February 2015

Man (84) died after episode of asphyxia following attack at his home, court hears

Caroline Roche (52) has pleaded not guilty to murdering Walter Plunkett by reason of insanity

Published 19/06/2014 | 14:38

The house at Ballyedmond, Co Wexford, where Walter Plunkett's body was found

An 84-year old man died as a result of an episode of asphyxia following an attack at his home in 2012, a murder trial has heard.

State Pathologist Doctor Marie Cassidy gave evidence today at the Central Criminal Court

Caroline Roche (52) from Ballyedmond Monamolin in Wexford has pleaded not guilty to murdering Walter Plunkett by reason of insanity.

Dr Cassidy said that Mr Plunketts death was due to ‘hypoxia due to trauma to the chest making respiration impossible’.

The court heard that the ribs had been fractured and the ribcage would have been unable to function normally.

Dr Cassidy described how the finger joints had been dislocated and the fingers were deformed.

The jury were told that injuries to the right eye and mouth were consistent with punches and those to the back of the scalp indicate a struggle while on the ground.

A member of the jury asked to be excused temporarily due to illness brought on by the post mortem evidence.

Dr Brenda Wright consultant Forensic Psychiatrist told the court that Miss Roche was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital in 1981.

The court heard that the accused had suffered religious and sexual delusions and believed she was in some way under threat by her partner.

The jury were told that Miss Roche had suffered delusions concerning the presence of the devil.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice White and a jury of six men and six women.

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