Wednesday 18 September 2019

Jury is urged to listen to 'silent witness Nicola Collins' at end of murder trial

Mother: Nicola Collins had 125 different injuries to her body
Mother: Nicola Collins had 125 different injuries to her body

Ralph Riegel

A murder trial jury was urged to listen to a "silent witness" with the prosecution arguing that deceased mother-of-three Nicola Collins (38) was speaking to the trial through expert medical witnesses.

A Central Criminal Court jury will today consider its verdict in the three-week murder trial of Cathal O'Sullivan (45).

Mr O'Sullivan, of Popham's Road, Farranree, Co Cork, but originally from Charleville, Co Cork, denies the murder of his girlfriend, Ms Collins, on March 27, 2017.

His defence team yesterday rejected the prosecution case that he beat his girlfriend to death.

The Kerry-born mother was found at the Popham's Road flat in the early hours of March 27 with 125 different injuries to her body.

She died from a serious head injury caused by blunt force trauma with a 117g blood clot found on her brain.

Closing arguments were made yesterday to Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and the jury by Tom Creed SC for the State, and Colman Cody SC for the defence.

Mr Creed urged the jury to consider the testimony of two expert medical witnesses, Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster and Cork neuropathologist Dr Michael Jansen.

"The silent witness is Nicola Collins and she speaks through the pathology. She speaks through the pathologist (Dr Bolster) because the pathologist interprets what she found from Nicola Collins, the deceased. Dr Jansen speaks for the silent witness as well," Mr Creed said.

He urged the jury to consider that the mother had 125 different injuries to her body when found by emergency services.

Mr Creed said the sheer extent of the injuries sustained by Ms Collins was not consistent with accidental causes.

He also said the defendant had offered testimony in "a calculated and remorseless manner" about his girlfriend.

Motive

However, defence counsel Mr Cody urged the jury to consider a second narrative to the events of March 27, 2017.

The defendant insisted throughout the trial that Ms Collins sustained a number of injuries at his flat through entirely accidental means.

Mr Cody pointed out not a lot of blood was found at the scene with no evidence of an attempt to clean the flat, no attempt at concealment and no sign of multiple serious fractures to Ms Collins head and neck.

"Where and what was the motive for Cathal O'Sullivan to behave in a manner as suggested by the prosecution?" he asked.

"Mr O'Sullivan spoke with affection of Ms Collins and their relationship."

Mr Cody said the relationship between Mr O'Sullivan and Ms Collins had its "turbulent moments" but was marked by affection.

The jury is scheduled to retire to consider its verdict today once Ms Justice Creedon concludes her trial charge.

Irish Independent

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