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Murder trial told victim was left in a ‘vegetative state’ after Swords shooting

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Special Criminal Court

Special Criminal Court

Special Criminal Court

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A man left in a “vegetative state” after he was shot several times in the chest and head – and who died a year later after never recovering consciousness – would have probably died at the scene if it weren’t for the assistance of paramedics, a murder trial was told, last week.

A 33-year-old male, who cannot be named for legal reasons but is referred to as ‘AB’ by lawyers, and Bernard Fogarty (34), with an address at Cromcastle Court, Kilmore, Coolock, Dublin 5, both deny the murder of Barry Wolverson at Madigan’s Yard, Kileek Lane, Swords, Co Dublin, on January 17, 2020.

The two men were charged before the non-jury court in April of last year with the attempted murder of Mr Wolverson, who died on February 21, 2021 after a lengthy spell in hospital. The attempted murder charges were upgraded to murder charges after Mr Wolverson died.

At the Special Criminal Court, Michelle O’Toole, a former advanced paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade, told Paul Greene SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, that she attended the scene of the shooting in a “rapid response vehicle”.

When she arrived, she said she observed two injured men. One man was standing next to a truck, while the second was lying on the ground and was receiving CPR from a member of the gardai.

Ms O’Toole said she began treating the second man, whom she now knows was Mr Wolverson, and discovered he was not breathing and his heart beat was irregular.

When Mr Wolverson failed to respond to attempts to revive him by intubation – that is, the placing of a tube in the airways to help him breathe – Ms O’Toole administered an adrenaline injection via the injured man’s lower leg.

Mr Wolverson’s heart rhythm “changed to a normal rhythm” after the injection, Ms O’Toole said.

Mr Wolverson was then taken to Beaumont Hospital, where he “survived for many months thereafter in a vegetative state”, Mr Greene said.

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When asked by Mr Greene whether there was “a very strong likelihood he [Mr Wolverson] would have died there and then” if it weren’t for the intervention of paramedics at the scene, Ms O’Toole responded: “It is hard for me to say, but it would appear so.”

She also told Mr Greene that when she examined Mr Wolverson, she found “eight gunshot wounds to the chest and shoulder area and one to his head, his temple”.

Paul Hand, also a paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade, told Mr Greene he treated the man who was standing when he arrived at the scene.

Mr Hand, who is based at the North Strand Station, said the man was bleeding and it appeared to him that he had been shot in the lower back.

“I couldn’t see any exit wounds,” Mr Hand told the court.

When cross-examined by Dean Kelly SC, for AB, whether the wounds could have been grazes, he replied: “They were puncture holes”.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to murder, possession of a firearm, possession of .38/.357 calibre ammunition and of assault causing harm to another male, Gerard Wildman, on January 17, 2020 at the yard in north Dublin. The trial before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath, Judge Cormac Dunne and Judge Gerard Griffin continues and is expected to last six weeks.


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