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Cabbie hit by car in driveway had his spine broken

A 66-year-old taxi driver had his spine broken in two after being hit by a car in his son's driveway, a murder trial heard.

State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy testified that father-of-four Michael Duffy died of crush injuries to his chest associated with severe, non-survivable internal injuries.

Claire Nolan, of Sheephill Green, Blanchardstown, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Duffy on January 26, 2008 by crushing him with her car.

However, she has pleaded guilty to his manslaughter in his son's driveway on Wellview Grove in Blanchardstown; the prosecution has not accepted this plea.

Prof Cassidy carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr Duffy on the day of his death.

She told the Central Criminal Court yesterday that the crush injury to his chest was sustained when he was struck by a motor vehicle.


She said that his ribcage was deformed and depressed, that he had multiple rib fractures and fractures of his breast and collar bones. She said that his spine was transected, and that the fractured ends had severed his spinal cord.

Prof Cassidy explained that he had massive internal trauma: the sac around the heart was torn, the heart itself was crushed and the aorta completely torn apart where the spine had been broken.

She said that both lungs were awash with blood and the left lung was lying free in the chest cavity, having been torn from its pedicle.

He also had a haemorrhage of the brain, along with abrasions to the back of his head and the front of his legs. He had lost a substantial quantity of blood and would have become unconscious immediately, she said.

She said that the type of crush injury that Mr Duffy had sustained would most commonly be associated with a run-over injury. However, she said it could be caused by being crushed between the bumper of a car and a solid surface, eg. the ground or a wall.

She added that the injuries to his knees were typical of bumper impact and said that it was possible that he was upright when struck by the vehicle, propelling him backwards and hitting his head against a wall.

"While on the ground, his chest could have been crushed by the front of the vehicle," she said. The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.