Friday 20 September 2019

Young mother 'beaten to death' during drunken row, murder trial hears

Tragic: Nicola Collins was found dead in a flat in Cork city
Tragic: Nicola Collins was found dead in a flat in Cork city

Ralph Riegel

YOUNG mother of three Nicola Collins (38) was beaten to death by her boyfriend after a row erupted following a three-day drinking session, a murder trial has heard.

The State claimed that Cathal O'Sullivan (44), who denies the murder of Ms Collins, inflicted multiple blunt force trauma injuries on the Kerry-born woman before her naked body was discovered in a Cork flat by emergency services.

Tom Creed SC, for the State, told Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and the Central Criminal Court jury of nine men and three women that the prosecution case is the defendant beat the young mother to death during a drunken row.

"The prosecution case is that Mr O'Sullivan killed Nicola Collins and that at the time he killed Nicola Collins, at the very least, he intended to cause her serious injury," he said.

Cathal O’Sullivan pictured at Cork District Court. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Cathal O’Sullivan pictured at Cork District Court. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited

"The prosecution case is that the accused beat Nicola Collins to death."

Mr Creed said the trial will hear evidence that, when Ms Collins was discovered shortly after 3am in a flat at 6A Popham's Road, Farranree, Cork in the early hours of March 27 2017, she had multiple injuries visible to attending members of the emergency services.

The young mother was found lying naked on her back on the floor of the flat with her legs resting on a bed.

Blood spatters were found in both the bedroom and the bathroom of the flat.

Blood stained clothing was also found in the flat.

Ms Collins was later found to have a broken jaw, two missing front teeth, a serious head injury as well as injuries to her face, lips, neck, chest, arms and breast.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster conducted a post mortem examination at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and ruled that Ms Collins died from a serious head injury with subdural haematoma consistent with blunt force trauma to the head.

Dr Bolster also found signs of asphyxia on Ms Collins' neck.

Mr Creed said that the trial will hear evidence from a taxi driver who brought Ms Collins from her home at Clashduv on Cork's southside to Popham's Road on March 23 2017 that she had no visible sign of injury and looked "well kept."

The only people seen arriving and leaving on CCTV footage from the Popham's Road flat were the deceased and the defendant.

They had left the flat to go to a nearby off license to purchase alcohol.

"It will be apparent that that an amount of drink was consumed over these days by both parties," he said.

Ms Collins was last seen alive outside the flat at 11.24am on March 24, three days before she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Creed said the defendant rang emergency services to alert them to Ms Collins condition at 3.05am on March 27.

However, Mr Creed said the jury will hear evidence that the defendant made two phone calls to a friend in the early hours of March 27 before he rang emergency services.

Those calls were made at 1.33am and 2.15am and one call lasted for 32 minutes.

Mr Creed said the defendant had conversations at the scene with various members of the emergency services.

"The effect of these conversations was that she (Ms Collins) arrived on the Thursday (March 23), there was a lot of drink and there was an altercation where Mr O'Sullivan said she got stuck into him and he dodged a blow."

Mr O'Sullivan, who is originally from Charleville in north Cork, was first charged with Ms Collins murder before Cork District Court in August 2017.

In response to the murder charge, he replied: "not guilty".

The defendant appeared in court wearing a dark grey pin-stripe suit, white shirt and grey tie.

Ms Justice Creedon has warned the jury not to read any media reports about the case and not to check any matters in relation to it on either the Internet or via social media.

Ms Collins, a native of St Brendans Park in Tralee, Co Kerry had been living at Clashduv Road in the Togher area of Cork over recent years.

Ms Collins was found unresponsive in the Popham's Road flat at 3am on March 27 2017 which was located directly over a local GALA grocery store.

Paramedics were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Garda investigation was upgraded to a murder probe following a post mortem examination at Cork University Hospital (CUH) by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

The trial has already heard that a significant number of witnesses are scheduled to be called in evidence.

Ms Collins is survived by her parents, Kay and Michael, her sister, Carly, and her children, Nick, Adam and Michael.

The trial continues.

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