Tuesday 17 July 2018

Idea baby caused his own death 'fanciful', dad's murder trial told

John Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts
John Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

A forensic pathologist told the trial of a father accused of murdering his baby son that a tear to the inside of the child's throat would usually be seen in cases involving punches, blows or severe struggle.

Consultant pathologist Dr Roger Malcolmson also described as "fanciful" the suggestion that the baby could have caused its own death by swallowing a wad of tissue.

John Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering six-month-old Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on June 1, 2013. He is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Dr Malcolmson reviewed a pathology report carried out by Dr Khalid Jaber, which he said was in keeping with international standards.

When prosecution counsel Paul Murray SC asked Dr Malcolmson about the possibility of a six-month-old ingesting the two pieces of tissue that Dr Jaber found in baby Joshua's throat, he responded that it was "not credible".

He added that the presence of the tear is "highly suspicious" of inflicted trauma and that such injuries are seen in cases involving punches or blows or severe struggle with force applied to the mouth. He said the baby would not have been able to do that to himself.

He agreed with defence counsel Mícheál P O'Higgins that it was possible that such injuries could be caused by Mr Tighe putting his fingers in the baby's mouth in efforts to remove the blockage.

When asked by Mr O'Higgins if it would be possible for the child to put the already formed wad of tissue in its mouth, he said it would be unlikely, that he did not think it was reasonable, and described it as a "fanciful possibility that a baby could do that to itself".

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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