Friday 20 September 2019

Man found guilty of murdering mother-of-three Nicola Collins

Michael Collins, father and Carly Collins, sister of the late Nicola Collins pictured after Cathal O'Sullivan (45) was convicted of the murder of mother of three Nicola Collins (38) by a Central Criminal Court jury in Cork.
Photo; Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts
Michael Collins, father and Carly Collins, sister of the late Nicola Collins pictured after Cathal O'Sullivan (45) was convicted of the murder of mother of three Nicola Collins (38) by a Central Criminal Court jury in Cork. Photo; Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts
Nicola Collins
Mother-of-three Nicola Collins

Ralph Riegel

A MAN was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend who was found beaten to death in his flat with 125 different injuries to her body.

Cathal O'Sullivan (45) was today convicted of the murder of mother of three Nicola Collins (38) by a Central Criminal Court jury in Cork.

Mother-of-three Nicola Collins
Mother-of-three Nicola Collins

The jury of nine men and three women had deliberated on their verdict for almost four hours over two days following a three week trial.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon was told the jury found the defendant guilty of Ms Collins murder by unanimous verdict.

O'Sullivan of Popham's Road, Farranree, Cork and formerly of Charleville, Co Cork received a mandatory life sentence.

He remained emotionless as the verdict was returned and the life sentence was handed down.

The sentencing hearing heard that in 2013 O'Sullivan received a three year suspended sentence for a violent assault on another woman.

That attack left the young woman unable to leave her property for three days - and, when she did, she was assessed as having kidney, liver and head injuries.

Nicola Collins
Nicola Collins

Nicola Collins' sister, Carly, in a victim impact statement, said the deceased's character was "vilified" during the trial.

"We have been subjected to the vilification of Nic's character in an attempt to explain what happened on the night of March 26 2017," she said.

"She was not the person portrayed in court - that this has added to the hurt and pain we already felt."

"The vile allegations heard in recent days have left us feeling disturbed and embittered."

Cathal O'Sullivan Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Cathal O'Sullivan Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

Carly said her family will forever be haunted by the terror Nicola endured in her final moments.

O'Sullivan had denied the murder of Ms Collins, a native of Kerry, at his Popham's Road flat on March 27 2017.

The science graduate insisted that Ms Collins had suffered her injuries accidentally after lunging at him following the consumption of cider and further that she had later fallen in the bath.

However, bruises and abrasions were found to almost every part of Ms Collins body.

Emergency services found Ms Collins lying naked on the floor of O'Sullivan's flat with her legs resting on a bed.

O'Sullivan was drinking beer as paramedics tried to revive Ms Collins and initially declined to leave the bedroom, explaining that he was "used to seeing dead people and would rather stay."

Ms Collins had arrived at the defendant's flat on March 23 and the couple were drinking together and watching TV.

She was last caught by CCTV footage outside the flat on March 24 and was found with fatal injuries in the flat by paramedics and Gardaí in the early hours of March 27.

In one Garda statement, O'Sullivan said that Ms Collins death was "deep."

"It was kind of deep - it was her (Ms Collins) dying with me. She was happy. We were singing songs before she passed away."

O'Sullivan had also claimed the couple were in bed watching 'The Young Offenders' when Ms Collins, after drinking cider, had suddenly lunged at him.

Her injuries were sustained accidentally, he argued, as he acted to fend her off.

The defendant also claimed she had fallen.

However, prosecutor Tom Creed SC urged the jury to listen to the "silent witness" in the case.

The prosecution maintained throughout the trial the defendant beat Ms Collins to death.

Mr Creed had 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," Mr Creed said.

"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 urged the jury to consider that the young mother had 125 different injuries to her body when found by emergency services - including a fractured jaw and a missing tooth.

He said her jaw bones were actually knocked apart.

"Her mandible was displaced," he said.

Mr Creed said the sheer extent of the injuries sustained by Ms Collins, including bruising all over her face, head and body, was not consistent with the accidental causes argued by the defendant.

Dr Bolster had found the fatal head injury was caused by blunt force trauma.

Ms Collins had a 117g blood clot on her brain resulting from the blunt force trauma to her head.

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

"By remorseless I mean without remorse," he said.

Mr Creed also argued that the defendant's description of the deceased during the trial was tantamount to "denigration of character."

Defence counsel Colman Cody SC had insisted the relationship between his client and Ms Collins was "caring and affectionate" while also having its "turbulent moments."

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