Saturday 19 October 2019

'Murder kit' with zombie mask was replicated by forensics

Stock image
Stock image
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A mannequin wearing Boy A's clothing and his so-called "murder kit" complete with "zombie mask" was not shown to the jury, after a judge ruled it was inadmissible.

The mannequin had been dressed and then photographed by John Hoade, a DNA and blood pattern specialist at Forensic Science Ireland.

Three photographs of the mannequin were shown to the court, in the absence of the jury.

Mr Hoade dressed the mannequin in Boy A's black hoodie top, white T-shirt, black boots and grey/black bottoms.

The clothes had been given by Boy A's parents to gardaí, as they were investigating an alleged attack on Boy A by two men in the park on the same day Ana went missing.

Mr Hoade placed the hood of the hoodie top over the mannequin's head.

He also dressed the mannequin with a pair of black gloves, a black snood, knee pads and a mask.

These items were found in a backpack in Boy A's bedroom after his home was searched by gardaí.

During his evidence to the jury, Mr Hoade had described the mask as a "half mask" which had a hole for the eyes and nose and stopped at the mouth where there was a jagged area.

It had what appeared to be "simulated blood" around the mouth and there was an elastic band so it could be secured.

Boy B told gardaí, during interviews, he called it the "zombie mask" because that's what Boy A called it, and it was "really cool".

Prosecutor Brendan Grehan SC claimed the mannequin accurately portrayed how Boy A looked in the derelict farmhouse. He argued the mannequin was not introducing any new evidence, and was merely a "visual aid" to the jury.

Defence counsel Patrick Gageby SC said the image was "very arresting" and "inflammatory" but there was no evidence the image portrayed accurately what was worn at the time of the fatal event.

Mr Gageby said there was no evidence the snood or hoodie jacket was worn, or that the hood was up.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott ruled the photographs of the mannequin were inadmissible as evidence.

He said that whatever limited probative value it had was outweighed by the disproportionate prejudicial effects.

Irish Independent

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