Brute who battered mum Nicola to death attacked other woman 5 years ago

Cathal O’Sullivan was jailed for life after being convicted of beating mother-of-three Nicola Collins to death in his flat

Ralph Riegel

A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend, who was found beaten to death in his flat with 125 injuries to her body, had subjected another woman to a savage attack four years earlier.

Cathal O'Sullivan (45) received a mandatory life sentence yesterday after a Central Criminal Court jury in Cork found him guilty of murdering mother-of-three Nicola Collins (38).

Nicola Collins

The jury of nine men and three women had deliberated for almost four hours over two days following a three- week trial.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon was told the jury had found the defendant guilty of murder by a unanimous verdict.

O'Sullivan, of Popham's Road, Farranree, Cork, remained emotionless as the verdict was returned and the judge jailed him for life.

The prosecution maintained throughout the trial that O'Sullivan beat Ms Collins to death during her three-day visit to his flat.

The sentencing hearing heard that in November 2013 O'Sullivan received a three-year suspended sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court for a violent assault on another woman earlier that year.

That attack left the young woman physically unable to leave her property for three days - and, when she did, she was assessed as having kidney, liver and head injuries.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Collins' sister Carly told the court that her family would be "haunted" by the horrific in- juries she suffered.

"It has been terribly distressing to hear of the devastating injuries she sustained," she said.


"The thought of the pain she must have suffered and the unimaginable terror she surely felt in her final hours will forever haunt us."

She added that her sister's good character had been "vilified" during the trial.

O'Sullivan had denied the murder of Ms Collins, from Kerry, at his flat on March 27 last year.

The science graduate insisted Ms Collins had suffered her injuries accidentally after lunging at him after drinking cider and said she had later fallen in the bath.

However, bruises and abrasions were found on almost every part of Ms Collins' body.

Emergency services found her lying naked on the floor of O'Sullivan's flat with her legs resting on a bed.

O'Sullivan had rung 999 and asked for an ambulance for his girlfriend.

The trial heard the recording of the 999 call in which the defendant insisted he had been performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Ms Collins.

At one point, he exclaimed to the emergency centre controller that he was "trying to bring my girlfriend back to life".

O'Sullivan was drinking beer as paramedics tried to revive Ms Collins and initially declined to leave the bedroom, saying he was "used to seeing dead people and would rather stay".

He later left the room when asked to do so by a garda.

Ms Collins was found with fatal injuries in the flat by paramedics and gardai in the early hours of March 27.

In one garda statement, O'Sullivan said of Ms Collins' death: "It was kind of deep - it was her dying with me. She was happy. We were singing songs before she passed away."

He also claimed that the couple were in bed watching The Young Offenders when Ms Collins, after drinking cider, suddenly lunged at him.

Her injuries were sustained accidentally, he argued, as he acted to fend her off.

However, prosecutor Tom Creed urged the jury to listen to the "silent witness" in the case.

He also urged them to consider the testimony of two expert medical witnesses, Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster and Cork neuropathologist Dr Michael Jansen.

"The silent witness is Nicola Collins and she speaks through the pathology," Mr Creed told the court.

He urged the jury to consider that Ms Collins had 125 injur- ies to her body - including a fractured jaw and a missing tooth - when she was found by emergency services.


Such was the force exerted on her jaw that the bones of her lower jaw or mandible were forced apart.

Mr Creed said the sheer extent of the injuries sustained by Ms Collins was not consistent with the accidental causes argued by the defendant.

Dr Bolster found that Ms Collins died from a serious head injury caused by blunt-force trauma.

She had a 117g blood clot on her brain, while blood was also found in the bedroom and bathroom of the flat.

DNA tests also revealed that Ms Collins' blood was all over a grey sports top worn by the defendant at the scene.

A clump of blonde hair was also discovered on a dressing table.