Injuries to deceased Eugene Gillespie (67) were 'a horrendous sight to behold', trial hears
The trial of a 30-year-old Sligo man accused of murdering a pensioner has heard that injuries to the deceased were “a horrendous sight to behold.”
Simon McGinley of Connaughton Road, Sligo has pleaded not guilty to murder but has admitted the manslaughter of Eugene Gillespie (67) in Co. Sligo on September 22, 2012.
He has pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of Mr Gillespie and trespass to commit robbery at his home in Old Market Street on September 19, 2012.
The Central Criminal Court heard the manslaughter plea was not accepted by the State and a jury was sworn in for the two-week trial.
The prosecution alleges a 999 call was made by the accused from a phone belonging to one of his acquaintances.
Nicholas Crellin who was the Acting Clinical Manager at Sligo General Hospital on September 22, 2012 gave evidence that Mr Gillespie was critically ill, very unstable and his resuscitation was ongoing.
He said Mr Gillespie had very severe swelling of the brain and his hands were black and grossly swollen.
Mr Crellin said the patient's face was swollen and he was covered in congealed blood.
“It was a horrendous sight to behold,” he said.
The witness added that the patient had a fracture of the skull and of the shoulder joint.
He said that swabs were taken from Mr Gillespie’s hands and fingernails as well as blood smaples.
Mr Crellin told the court that the patient remained critical and various doctors were involved in his resuscitation.
He said at Mr Gillespie suffered a cardiac arrest and he died after failed attempts to resuscitate him.
Mr Zaib Khan, a consultant surgeon at the hospital, said Mr Gillespie had bruises to his skull, face and neck, and had swelling to his hands.
The consultant said there was bleeding and swelling to the brain.
Mr Khan concluded that he was critically ill and he consulted with neuro-surgeons in Beaumont hospital.
He said the patient was then given conservative treatment.
Under cross-examination by Mr Blaise O’Carroll SC defending Mr Khan said there was a fracture running from the base of the skull to the facial bones.
In regard to wrist injuries Mr O’Carroll asked the surgeon if having heard Mr Gillespie had been tied up would set off any alarm bells. The witness replied: “I think this was the least of his problems.”
He agreed with Mr Sean Gillane SC prosecuting that Mr Gillespie’s main problems were the fracture to his skull, the bleed on his brain, a fractured jaw as well as lung consolidation.
Mr Khan said the patient's injuries resulted from trauma to the head, neck and face.
Catherine Kelly, a sister in charge, told the court Mr Gillespie arrived at the hospital on September 21, 2012 with a severe head injury and his hands were discoloured and swollen.
She said he was unresponsive, had difficulty breathing and was transferred to the intensive care unit at 1.45am.
Nurse Rachel Mulrooney said the patient was unconscious and his face was covered in blood and vomit.
He had a ligature on his wrist, his face was bruised and swollen and he a bruising on his neck.
She said he was put on a ventilator, an E.C.G. was carried out and his heart rate was chaotic.
The nurse said she labelled blood samples, which were sent to the lab to be analysed.
Detective Garda Pauline McDonagh said that on September 28, 2012 she met with McGinley at Sligo Garda Station and she took him to an interview room.
She said he “was quite distressed, was crying and appeared to be intoxicated.”
Det Gda McDonagh said he leaned towards her and told her “I didn’t mean to do it. Pauline what’ll I do? Oh God, the man is dead. No matter what Gerry tells me I’m going to tell the truth.”
The witness told the court that the accused was referring to Gerry McGovern -a solicitor in Sligo, who was then contacted.
Det Gda McDonagh said it caused her some concern that McGinley had told her that he had taken valium and alcohol.
The accused told her he hoped that her colleague would kick the door in and “find the man.”
“I was hoping Con would kick in the f**king door and find the man,” McGinley said.
“I can still see his face,” the accused added.
Det Gda McDonagh said McGinley told her on a number of occasions that he wanted to be punished for what he had done.
Detective Garda John Molloy told the court that when McGinley came into the station he was distraught, inconsolable and said he told her “the man wasn’t meant to die, he was only there to rob him.”
Det Gda Molloy said McGinley told him he rang the garda station but the gardai went to the wrong house.
The accused told him he wanted to tell the truth, the witness said.
Detective Sergeant Con Lee said McGinley was crying, had drink taken and was incoherent.
“He actually hugged me in the interview room,” Det Sgt Lee told the court.
He said the accused told him “I wish you’d went to the right house.”
Det Sgt Lee said the accused told him he had been drinking and had taken valium. He formally cautioned McGinley and he said a number of things to him: “Will I get life? Will they throw the book at me? I want to be punished. I’ll tell you everything after I speak to Gerry McGovern.”
The accused asked to have a cup of tea and a cigarette and when the doctor arrived he deemed him not fit to be interviewed.
Det Sgt Lee said he formally arrested him for the murder of Mr Gillespie at 1.45am and he “made no reply.”
The trial continues.