Wednesday 16 October 2019

Garda probe into killing had 'tunnel vision', claims defence

Victim: Paddy Lyons suffered multiple blows to the head
Victim: Paddy Lyons suffered multiple blows to the head

Alison O'Riordan

The garda investigation into the killing of a 90-year-old retired farmer was "tunnel-­visioned" and "pointed itself one way", a murder trial has been told.

Counsel for Ross Outram suggested at the Central Criminal Court that the probe into Paddy Lyons's death did not "go below the surface".

Mr Outram (28), of Ferryland, Waterford Road, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Lyons at Loughleagh, Ballysaggart, Lismore, Co Waterford, at a time unknown between February 23 and 26, 2017.

Mr Outram told gardaí in interviews that he had lumps on his head after Mr Lyons hit him with a walking stick and shovel, and that he had taken up to 100 Xanax that day. However, the jury was told yesterday that gardaí at Dungarvan garda station took no photographs of his head injury and no urine test was performed.

A pathologist has given evidence that Mr Lyons suffered multiple blows to his head and neck from a blunt weapon, before his blood-smeared body was found slumped in his armchair at his home.

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

A pharmaceutical expert has told the jury that there was "no proof" the accused Mr Outram had taken Xanax.

Prosecution counsel John O'Kelly SC yesterday tendered Superintendent Anthony Pettit at the request of the defence.

Under cross-examination by Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, Supt Pettit outlined that the shovel found at the scene had been swabbed and Mr Lyons's DNA was found on it.

The absence of Mr Outram's DNA on the shovel did not preclude the fact that he had been struck by it, added the witness.

Mr O'Higgins said his client had informed gardaí in his interviews that he had lumps on his head and asked the witness was this not something that was "crying out" for a physical examination.

"The injuries he pointed out were more of an evidential nature than of a serious nature," replied Supt Pettit, adding that he was satisfied that gardaí took steps to record the accused's injuries.

Supt Pettit explained that 12 areas of blood were sampled at the scene and all contained the deceased's DNA profile. No DNA belonging to Mr Outram was found in Mr Lyons's house, the court heard.

Counsel said he had to suggest that this Garda investigation was "tunnel-visioned" in nature, did not "go below the surface" and only "pointed itself one way".

"I disagree," said Supt Pettit, adding that he was satisfied that all possible avenues had been investigated and Mr Outram's injuries were minor in nature.

The trial continues today before Mr Justice Paul Coffey and a jury of eight men and four women.

Irish Independent

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