Wednesday 16 October 2019

Farmer was 'alive and mobile' when murder accused left, trial is told

Victim: Retired farmer Paddy Lyons had multiple injuries
Victim: Retired farmer Paddy Lyons had multiple injuries

Alison O'Riordan

A 90-year-old retired farmer was "alive and mobile" when his alleged attacker left him, a murder trial jury has heard.

Ross Outram (28), of Ferryland, Waterford Road, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Paddy Lyons (90) at Loughleagh, Ballysaggart, Lismore, Co Waterford, between February 23 and 26, 2017.

Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster has told the trial of seeing Mr Lyons's blood-smeared body in his armchair at his home. She found his cause of death to be blunt force trauma to his body, along with a traumatic brain injury and shock due to fractures of his hip joint, jawbone and ribs.

The jury has heard medical evidence that Mr Lyons suffered a "stiffness or fusion" of his right shoulder during childbirth and could only keep it in one position.

Mr Outram told gardaí in interviews that he had "fought back" after Mr Lyons hit him with a walking stick and shovel, and that he had taken up to 100 Xanax that day. A pharmaceutical expert has told the jury there is "no proof" Mr Outram had taken Xanax.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins said in his closing speech that his client told gardaí in his interviews on two occasions that Mr Lyons was alive when he left the house because he had put on a grey hat.

"That's an unusual memory fragment and why would Mr Outram invent that detail?" he said, adding that a garda had given evidence that he found a grey hat in the vicinity of Mr Lyons's fireplace.

Mr O'Higgins said this was "reliable and very strong evidence" offered by Mr Outram that Mr Lyons was "alive and mobile" when the accused left the house.

He said Mr Outram had acted in self-defence and he could not be made liable for "a fall" which saw Mr Lyons break his hip if it was unconnected to the original injuries inflicted by the accused.

A defence pathologist said he "favoured" the possibility that Mr Lyons's hip fracture was the result of a fall rather than blows with a blunt weapon.

However, prosecution counsel John O'Kelly SC submitted that no one knew how much truth "if any" there was in Mr Outram's version of events, as he had lied consistently in his first six Garda interviews.

He told the jury that it "flew in the face of all common sense" to suggest that Mr Lyons's hip injury could have occurred after he was subjected to the attack or could be seen as something entirely independent.

"There is no evidence to show that it could have happened later or was entirely separate and independent," he said.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey yesterday told the jury in his charge that in order to convict Mr Outram of murder they must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Lyons's fall and the fracture of his hip was either directly caused by the multiple blows inflicted on him or it was reasonably foreseeable that it was a natural consequence of these blows.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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