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Trail of blood led gardai from victim's body to suspected killer, court told


David Brannock (23), of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun, Dublin.

David Brannock (23), of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun, Dublin.

David Brannock (23), of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun, Dublin.

A trail of blood led gardai from the body of a man stabbed in the back of his neck to the home of his suspected killer, who was hiding behind furniture, a court has heard.

The Central Criminal Court heard the evidence in the trial of a 23-year-old Dubliner charged with murdering the father of three and injuring four members of his family following exam celebrations.

David Brannock of St Joseph’s Way, Ballymun is charged with murdering father-of-three Jason Flannery, causing serious harm to his brother in law, John O’Neill, and assault causing harm to his (Mr Flannery’s) daughter, Jade Byrne; son, Anthony Byrne, and their mother, Claire Byrne.

Mr Brannock has pleaded not guilty to all five offences in the early hours of September 13th, 2012 at St Joseph’s Way, Poppintree, Ballymun.

The trial has heard that Jade Byrne had got into an argument with Mr Brannock during her Junior Cert result celebrations the night before. The argument escalated and ended in a violent confrontation in the early hours of September 13th.

Sergeant Patrick Whelan testified today that he arrived on St Joseph’s Way shortly after 4.15am and was informed that several people had been stabbed, one fatally.

He saw the deceased lying on the footpath, along with a silver crutch and speckles of blood leading away from his body.

“As I followed the trail, it brought me to the front door of (the accused man’s home),” he said.

Outside this house, the sergeant noticed another crutch, under a car that appeared to have been parked quickly.

“I believed another person may have been injured,” he said. “I knocked on the door.”

He said that Mr Brannock’s father opened the door and he could see blood in the hallway behind him. The garda was allowed in and followed the trail of blood into the kitchen.

“I saw a foot inside the (adjoining) sitting room, which was in darkness,” he recalled. “I walked in, turned on my garda torch… and found the accused, David Brannock, behind a shelving unit, crouched down, hiding.”

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He said that he asked the accused what he was doing.

“He told me he was fixing the shelf,” recalled the sergeant. “Bear in mind, it was 4.30am.”

He said that somebody turned on the light and he could see injuries to Mr Brannock’s head and hand as well as blood on his clothing. He said that he asked how he had got his injuries and the accused said he’d been in a row on another street about 10 minutes away.

He said that the accused told him that he didn’t know about any trouble on St Joseph’s Way.

However, the officer suspected that he was involved and arrested him on suspicious of assault causing serious harm to Mr Flannery.

Earlier, the court heard that Mr Flannery died of a stab wound to his upper cervical spinal cord, with two stab wounds to his stomach a contributing factor.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis testified that he had carried out the post-mortem exam on his body.

He said that the most serious wound was to the back of his neck and tracked between the base of the skull and the first bone of the neck.

“It entered the spinal canal, where it sliced the first segment of the cervical spinal cord,” he said. “This man would not have moved after sustaining this injury.”

“The spinal cord is critical to a human being,” he explained.

The trial has already heard that Mr Flannery’s teenaged children, Jade and Anthony Byrne, received stitches for wounds they received that morning.

Their uncle, John O’Neill, spent a week in a coma and a month in hospital recovering from several stab wounds. One of the most serious wounds resulted in part of his intestine protruding from his body when emergency services arrived.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of five women and seven men.

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