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Steak knife and phone found in toilet cistern at murder scene

Trial of Rita O'Driscoll for the murder of ex-husband Timmy Foley in Macroom


Murder accused Rita O'Driscoll

Murder accused Rita O'Driscoll

Murder accused Rita O'Driscoll

The body of a 44 year old man was found with a considerable amount of blood around him in a house in Macroom, the trial of a woman charged with his murder has heard this week.

Rita O'Driscoll of Bridge Street, Bandon has denied the murder of Timmy Foley (44) and denied assault causing serious harm to Mr Foley's brother, Jason Foley (43), both at Dan Corkery Place in Macroom on October 8th 2018.

On Wednesday, Det Garda Gary McDonnell from the Garda Technical Bureau in Dublin told Ms O'Driscoll's trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork that he had examined the scene of the murder.

He told the jury of five men and seven women that he found signs of a struggle in the living room where the body of Timmy Foley had been found lying on the floor with "a considerable amount of blood around him".

"There was a lot of blood on the floor, couch, and cushions as well as blood in the bathroom floor and on the cistern," said Det Garda McDonnell as he outlined what he found at the scene during his technical examination.

"There appeared to have been at least one struggle in the sitting room as there were items knocked over, the couch was moved and there was a lot of blood spread around the room".

He said Mr Foley's body was taken to Cork University Hospital under Garda escort where a post mortem was later conducted by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster who had earlier visited the scene.

Det Garda McDonnell said that he found a white Nokia phone and a knife in the cistern of the toilet during his examination of the house which had been declared a crime scene and preserved by local gardai.

There were "wide spread droppings of blood on the floor and on the sink and cistern in the bathroom. It appeared as if a person stood at the sink for a while," he told the court.

Earlier in the trial, Garda Padraig Dennehy of Macroom Garda Station told the trial how he and his colleague, Garda Siobhan O'Dowd arrived at the scene shortly after 1.40am where they found Timmy Foley lying on the floor. "His eyes were open. He was very pale and very unresponsive… There was a lot of blood around the back of Timmy Foley's head and around his body and a lot of blood at his feet," Garda Dennehy told the jury of five men and seven women.

Ms O'Driscoll was outside the house and they had to stop her from going back into the house to get her glasses and cigarettes, "She was shouting, 'Get back up and fight for your life. He stabbed me seven times in the past'."

Garda O'Dowd said when she was taking a cautioned memo of questions and answers outside the house with Ms O'Driscoll, she would give an answer, take her notebook and pen from her without being asked and would sign her name. Garda O'Dowd said that Ms O'Driscolll said at one point: "He stabbed me seven times before. I relived the moments in the mental hospital. I was afraid of him… I am afraid of him no more. I don't care if I live or die."

Det Sgt Ann Murphy confirmed in cross examination by defence counsel, Roderick O'Hanlon SC that when Ms O'Driscoll was informed that Mr Foley had died, she replied "He couldn't be dead, I didn't kill him."

"Timmy put a knife to my head. I grabbed it, turned it and stuck it in him. It was self-defence. I did not stab him repeatedly," Ms O'Driscoll told Gardai who described her as being hyper at the time outside the house.

Later in Cork University Hospital, Ms O'Driscoll told a member of the medical staff that Jason Foley had attacked her in the kitchen when she was making dinner and she threw hot water at him. But some of the hot water splashed on Timmy Foley, who reacted by putting a steak knife to her head but she took it off him and stuck it in him in self-defence during the row, Ms O'Driscoll told the member of the medical staff at CUH.

Earlier, Jason Foley had told the trial that he had suffered an acquired brain injury some years earlier and his brother, Timmy, used to stay with him from time to time and on the night of October 7, 2018 Ms O'Driscoll called and brought drink with her.

Mr Foley said he was concerned about singing in his house because there was a frail old woman living next door so he asked his brother, Timmy to "Take care" of Ms O'Driscoll's singing and talking loudly.

"I said it to Timmy in front of Rita… Rita was talking loud. I don't know what Rita was talking about. She raised her voice. I said, 'Timmy, Take care of that'. He said 'Jay, no problem'.

"She was arguing with my brother. Rita was pucking Timmy in the stomach. I said 'Rita, who do you think you are?'. I didn't see a knife. "Rita was there pucking my brother in the stomach and in the side. He said, 'Jason, I am goosed.' "

"Timmy started roaring. I seen blood coming from his stomach. I said I will get an ambulance," said Mr Foley, adding he went to the toilet and when he came back he saw Ms O'Driscoll standing over his brother and pucking him in the stomach.

Mr Foley said he saw that his brother was bleeding from the stomach and, asked in his direct evidence by prosecution counsel, Siobhan Lankford SC what caused this bleeding, he replied "Rita's fist".

"He (Timmy Foley) said, 'She have me goosed. She have my stomach fucked up' and he (Timmy Foley) put his hands to his stomach and there was blood on his hands," said Jason Foley.

Ms Lankford asked Jason Foley if he saw anything in Ms O'Driscoll's hands and he replied: "Yeah, a bloody knife. It was full of blood. The knife was full of blood. Her fist was full of blood and Timmy said ''I am fucked, Jay, I am fucked'."

Mr Foley said he asked his brother would he get an ambulance for him and he said yes before repeating that "she have me goosed" so he pressed a panic alarm he had to call the ambulance and the gardai.

"My brother saw Rita pucking me in the back - She stabbed me in the back like a puck, same one she used on Timmy. She stabbed me in the back," he said, adding that he was stabbed once and felt weak.

Mr Foley said when he was calling the ambulance, he saw his brother trying to stand and get up off the floor and Ms O'Driscoll in the corner "shouting about things - I don't know what she was on about."

He said he had seen the knife a few days earlier in his kitchen when he and his brother were making dinner. "Me and Timmy used it to cut the fat off the bacon," he told the court.

Cross-examined by Mr O'Hanlon SC for Ms O'Driscoll, Mr Foley denied he had picked up the knife after Ms O'Driscoll had dropped it after stabbing his brother two or three times and that he continued stabbing his brother.

Mr O'Hanlon asked if he knew the O'Driscoll family were settled travellers. He replied: "Not travellers, tinkers." Mr O'Hanlon said: "You don't like them?" He replied: "There is nothing to like about them."

Mr O'Hanlon put it to Mr Foley that Timmy Foley's son, Michael, had come out as gay and that both he (Jason) and his brother (Timmy) both referred to him pejoratively and disapprovingly as "a batty boy".

Mr Foley agreed he disapproved of homosexuals and said there were no homosexual Foleys and said Michael was not Timmy's son and that Timmy was in prison when Ms O'Driscoll became pregnant with him 21 years ago.

Mr O'Hanlon put it to Mr Foley that Timmy got very irritated when Ms O'Driscoll discussed Michael and punched her in the head. "Not that I seen… Timmy was trying to make slaps but he couldn't," said Mr Foley.

Mr Foley said he didn't recall saying to gardai in his statement that "Timmy gave her a dig in the head because she had risen him to the last… She was trying to get inside his head, playing tricks to get inside his head."

Mr Foley similarly did not recall saying to gardai, as recorded in his statement, that he had told his brother:: "This will have to stop. Shut her up." And Timmy said, "I will shut her up," and hit her a few slaps."

Mr O'Hanlon asked Mr Foley if he was aware that his brother produced a knife first but Mr Foley denied that and said his brother didn't like knives, adding "he is too fast with his hands."

Mr O'Hanlon put it to Mr Foley that he told gardaí: "Timmy shouted, 'You dirty whore'. He shouted 'You will leave here in a body-bag," but Mr Foley said he did not remember telling gardaí that about his brother.

Mr O'Hanlon put it to Mr Foley that told a paramedic he saw Ms O'Driscoll stabbing his brother in the chest and he "skull-dragged her off him and kicked the shit out of her" but he said that was just a phrase and did not kick anyone.

Mr O'Hanlon further put it to Mr Foley that his brother had been giving out to him for taking his vodka and that he (Jason) called his brother a bitch and that a row broke out between them in which he stabbed his brother.

Mr Foley denied this and said it "never happened - me and my brother had no argument" before he denied that he had stabbed his brother in the head and arm as alleged by Mr O'Hanlon on behalf of Ms O'Driscoll.

Mr O'Hanlon then put it to Mr Foley that Ms O'Driscoll intervened and Timmy Foley said to her: "Fuck off you or I will knock your teeth out, you fat bitch" and she was pushed back into a chair, breaking it.

"You told Rita you were going to blame her for Timmy's death. You said she would not be believed because she was just out of mental hospital in Cork," said Mr O'Hanlon but Mr Foley denied ever having such a conversation.

Mr Foley denied that he and his brother were threatening and violent to Ms O'Driscoll to the extent that she feared for her life. "No it never happened," he said after Mr O'Hanlon after he said they posed a serious threat to his client.

Mr O'Hanlon put it to Mr Foley that what Ms O'Driscoll did was "her response to protect herself from a clear and present danger from Timmy in particular and from yourself." Mr Foley again replied that it "never happened".

Earlier, when opening the case to the jury before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, Ms Lankford gave a broad outline of what she expected the State to call in evidence during the course of the trial which is expected to run two to three weeks.

Ms Lankford said that Ms O'Driscoll was admitted to the psychiatric unit at Cork University Hospital on September 21st 2018 and the jury would hear she was discharged from the psychiatric unit at CUH on October 5th.

They would hear that her psychiatrist would say she was "coherent, calm and relaxed" with no thought of self harm at the time and that she travelled to Macroom and went to the home of her former brother-in-law, Jason Foley.

She said that Ms O'Driscoll called to the house on October 7th 2018 and brought alcohol with her and she, Timmy Foley and Jason Foley had some drinks and possibly some food but later that night, a row broke out.

Jason Foley had a panic button because of his condition resulting from his acquired brain injury and the alarm was raised through the panic button at 1.40am on October 8th and gardai were alerted and arrived at the house.

Ms Lankford said that in the course of examining the house, gardai found blood stains in the bathroom and on the inside of a toilet cistern where they also found a black handled knife and a white Nokia phone.

She said a forensic examination found that blood stains on the cistern matched the blood of Ms O'Driscoll with a minority blood match to Timmy Foley and blood on the knife showed a DNA match with Ms O'Driscoll and Timmy Foley,

Ms Lankford said a post-mortem by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster found that Mr Foley had suffered a total of 28 stab wounds and four of these were potentially fatal while some were defensive in nature.

Mr Foley had suffered stab wounds to his head, thorax, abdomen and right leg as well as to his liver and lungs while one of the wounds had led to an incision of his carotid artery, said Ms Lankford.