Friday 13 December 2019

Pensioner's body discovered with imprint 'similar to the letter M' on his face, trial hears

Eugene Gillespie, who died after being found unconscious
Eugene Gillespie, who died after being found unconscious

The trial of a 30-year-old Sligo man accused of murdering a pensioner in his home has heard evidence of injuries to the deceased from the Deputy State Pathologist.

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 McGinley’s trial commenced last Tuesday.

Today Dr Michael Curtis told Mr Sean Gillane SC prosecuting that he carried out a post mortem at Galway University Hospital on September 23, 2012.

He said he was informed of how matters had developed with Mr Gillespie’s medical care.

The pathologist said he also visited Mr Gillespie’s home and was shown the hallway where he was discovered, the kitchen, sitting room and some vehicles.

Dr Curtis said the deceased had fractures to the base of his skull, his jaw and his ribs.

Mr Gillespie had ligature marks around his wrist and the flow of blood to his hands would have been restricted, the court was told.

Dr Curtis said the right hand was swollen and there was skin blistering and slippage showing the tissues had started dying.

“I don’t think that hand was recoverable,” he said.

He said the left hand was recoverable but would not be normal.

There was bruising to the throat and areas behind the throat.

He said there was a 7cm-long ligature mark on the neck area, which he said could be consistent with being made with a lace or a rope but only applied to the front of the neck.

Dr Curtis testified the fingernails were intact and there was abraded bruising to the back of deceased’s trunk.

He said there were scrapes or abrasions between the shoulder blades.

The pathologist said there were abrasions over the left buttocks and below the armpit and area of ill-defined bruising at the back of the head.

He gave evidence that there was bruising on both eyelids and the left eyeball was damaged.

He said there was a fracture to the roof of his left eye socket.

The pathologist said there was an imprint abrasion “very reminiscent of the letter ‘M’” on the left side of the face just below his cheekbone.

The brain was retained for examination by the neuropathologist in Beaumont Hospital.

He said there was an area of bruising on the inside of the brain, which manifested itself as coma.

In conclusion he said there was severe blunt force trauma to the head face and neck.

The pathologist said the brain injury could have resulted from repeated blows or by being knocked to the ground.

He said the cause of death was bronchial pneumonia due to coma, due to severe blunt trauma to the head, face and neck.

He said ischemia of the hands, due to being bound, was a contributory factor.

Detective Sergeant Con Lee told Mr Blaise O’ Carroll SC defending that he knew McGinley and his family.

Det Sgt Lee said he was aware the accused’s brother Hughie was shot dead in Sligo on May 28, 2005.

He said he could not honestly say if the accused was remorseful in his garda interviews but said he was “visibly upset.”

He further agreed that he was very helpful during the course of his interviews.

The trial continues.

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