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Mother died after kick in stomach from her partner

A MUM-of-three who was killed by her partner of 21 years at his Tallaght home died when her liver split after he kicked her in the stomach.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy told the trial of Derek Finlay that the cause of Noeleen Brennan's death was a ruptured liver caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

She said the injury would have been painful and caused rapid collapse.

Ms Brennan (38) also sustained a fracture to her larynx which was a contributory factor in her death, Dr Cassidy said.

Finlay (40), of Knockmore Green, Killinarden, Tallaght denies murdering Ms Brennan, the mother of his three children, on November 15, 2008, but has admitted manslaughter. The DPP rejected the plea and the murder trial is progressing at the Central Criminal Court.

The jury has heard that at around 3.30am on the morning of November 17, 2008, Finlay rang for an ambulance. Paramedics arrived to find Ms Brennan slumped in a chair in the living room, unconscious. She died in hospital two hours later.

Finlay lied in his initial statements to gardai but in subsequent interviews with gardai, he admitted to inflicting her injuries after a row broke out in an upstairs bedroom. He said they exchanged blows and both fell down the stairs before he gave her "an unmerciful boot in the stomach".

Dr Cassidy agreed with senior prosecuting counsel, Paul Coffey, that the injury to Ms Brennan's liver was consistent with this description of the kick, and that the kick would have to have been a forceful one.

Under cross-examination from Finlay's defence counsel, Brendan Grehan, Dr Cassidy agreed that because of Ms Brennan's history of drinking her liver was "vulnerable."

She also agreed that normally a kick to the stomach would not result in death, and replied "yes" when he asked if she felt there had been "element of bad luck" given that Ms Brennan had a vulnerable liver.

The trial resumes on Tuesday morning before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.