Friday 14 December 2018

Baby had tissues from two different boxes in his throat, murder trial hears

John Tighe denies murdering his six-month-old baby son. Photo: Collins Courts
John Tighe denies murdering his six-month-old baby son. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

Baby Joshua Tighe, whose father is on trial accused of his murder, had paper that matched two different tissue boxes in his throat when he died, a forensic scientist has told the Central Criminal Court.

John Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his son Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on June 1, 2013.

Bridget Fleming, of Forensic Science Ireland, examined the "bolus" or "wad" of tissue taken from the six-month-old's throat during a post-mortem carried out by Dr Khalid Jaber.

She told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that it consisted of two pieces of tissue paper, one three-ply and one two-ply, that were crumpled together.

Gardaí gathered tissue paper from various parts of the house where Joshua died and Ms Fleming compared those with the pieces taken from the baby's throat.

She found that the three-ply paper matched tissue from a box found in the main bedroom while the other matched tissue found in a box in the sitting room.

The court heard she analysed the tissue for its dimensions, the number of layers and the number of folds.

She added that the tissue was not from a baby wipe.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Tighe murdered his son by putting the wad of tissue in Joshua's throat, causing death by asphyxiation. Mr Tighe denies the charge and when speaking to emergency services said that he was changing the baby's nappy, went to the toilet and when he returned the child was choking and had gone blue.

John Hoade, of Forensic Science Ireland, said he took blood samples from Mr Tighe's pyjama bottoms and compared them to blood taken from baby Joshua. He said the DNA on the pyjamas matched that of Joshua.

Further profiles taken from a babygrow and baby vest also matched Joshua's blood, as did samples taken from stains found on the floor of the sitting room and a wall.

Mr Hoade agreed with defence counsel Mícheál P O'Higgins SC that if the baby was bleeding as Mr Tighe held him while trying to help him, that would explain the presence of Joshua's blood on his pyjamas.

Counsel pointed out that Mr Tighe, during a phone call to emergency services, said there was blood coming from Joshua's mouth. Justice Patrick McCarthy told the jury to return to court on Monday as he and counsel must deal with a legal issue in their absence.

Irish Independent

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