Tuesday 16 January 2018

Man who killed elderly brothers told people in pub he would carry out post mortems

Alan Cawley has denied the murder charge. Photo: Keith Heneghan
Alan Cawley has denied the murder charge. Photo: Keith Heneghan

Natasha Reid

A man killed two elderly brothers in their home just hours after telling strangers in a pub that he was studying to be a doctor who would carry out post-mortems on any bodies found that night, a court heard.

Alan Cawley's murder trial also heard he threatened to have one customer "committed" with the help of gardaí to prevent him killing his wife.

The evidence was heard yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, where the 30-year-old is on trial, charged with murdering both Thomas Blaine and John (Jack) Blaine. They were found beaten to death four years ago.

Mr Cawley, of Four Winds, Corrinbla, Ballina, Co Mayo, has admitted killing the brothers, both of whom had speech impediments and other illnesses. However, he has pleaded not guilty to murdering them on July 10, 2013, at New Antrim Street in Castlebar.

Michelle Nally testified that she was bar manager at The Irish House in the town, but was off duty and socialising there on the night of July 9 that year.

She told the prosecution that a couple she knew, Mick and Maureen Lacey, came into the bar. They were followed a short time later by a man she didn't know - it's accepted that this was the accused.

"He seemed to go straight over to them," she recalled. "At first, Maureen seemed to be OK but after a while I heard her saying: 'Leave us alone'."

She said she invited Mrs Lacey to join her and her friend, as she looked "very uncomfortable".

"He followed her over," she said. "He was saying that Michael Lacey had health issues and he thought that Michael was going to kill Maureen that night. He said he wanted to ring the gardaí on him, that he was afraid for her."

Ms Nally said this man claimed to be studying to be a doctor and to have done four-and-a-half years of his training. "He said he was working in the mortuary in Castlebar and that if her body, or any body, was found in the morning, he'd be doing the post-mortems," she said.

She thought he might have been on drugs. "I didn't know if he was acting crazy," she added. "I was fearful."

Ms Nally said she'd had every intention of calling the HSE the next morning but when she heard the news about the Blaine brothers she called gardaí instead.

The defence put it to her that it had been a completely irrational allegation to make about Michael Lacey.

"Yeah, it was crazy," she replied. "He didn't know them."

The jury also heard from the last person, besides the accused, to see Jack Blaine alive.

Barman John Ralph had just delivered a cup of tea to Mr Blaine's windowsill, when he noticed him with the accused.

He told Mr Buckley that he had known the brothers since he was a child. "Everyone would know them around town," he explained.

The trial continues on Monday.

Irish Independent

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