Saturday 24 February 2018

Trial hears Martin Brophy (22) died of blunt force trauma to the head

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

By Natasha Reid

The trial of a 20-year-old Waterford man charged with murdering a 22-year-old in the city has heard that the deceased died of blunt force trauma to the head, which could have been due to kicking, stamping or stomping.

Martin Brophy had fractures to his skull and significant, acute, craniocerebral traumatic injuries, when his body was found almost three years ago.

William Moran of Connolly Place, Waterford City is charged with murdering Mr Brophy at the old Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) building between May 19 and May 21 2012.

Mr Moran has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently on trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

The jury heard today from the forensic pathologist, who carried out the post-mortem exam on Mr Brophy’s body.

Dr Khalid Jabbar testified that he was the Deputy State Pathologist when called to the scene on May 22nd that year. The court had already heard that youths had found Mr Brophy’s body the previous evening.

Dr Jabbar said the body was lying on its left side by a pool of blood and that there was blood on the right side of the face. Next to the body, there was a blood-stained metal locker and part of a concrete block, which was also blood-stained.

He said there was a patterned, grazed bruise on the right side of the face. He said there was also a pattern of dust on the back of Mr Brophy’s t-shirt.

This pattern looked like the sole of a shoe or other footwear, he said.

The body was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital, where Dr Jabbar carried out an autopsy.

The pathologist noted trauma to both eyelids, both ears and nose, as well as bruising to his lips and chin. There was also trauma to the neck, shoulders, abdomen, back, chest and all four limbs, he said.

The doctor explained that Mr Brophy’s head had borne the brunt of the blunt force trauma.

He said that the temporal bone was fractured above the ear on both sides. There was also evidence of a subarachnoid haemorrhage and swelling of the brain.

There was bruising to both sides of the brain and significant injuries to the base of the brain.

He found significant trauma to the base of the skull. This trauma was made up of multiple fractures and included a hinge fracture running from one side to the other, he said.

“That would explain why he had blood trickling from the ears,” he said.

He recalled that there were additional fractures further up, involving the eye sockets, pituitary area and roof of the nose.

He said that the brain had swollen and descended downwards into a very tight space, resulting in injury.

He said that there was also a very high level of alcohol in the blood, describing it as ‘acutely intoxicating’.

He gave the opinion that Mr Brophy had died of significant, acute, craniocerebral traumatic injuries due to blunt force trauma inflicted to the head. This could have been caused by kicking, stamping or stomping, he said.

He added that acute ethanol intoxication was a contributing factor.

Dr Jabbar felt that death was rapid but not instantaneous.

The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues on Monday before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of four women and eight men.

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