A CONVICTED rapist whose arm was found on a north Dublin beach was butchered with a sharp knife after his death.
The right arm of James Nolan (46) from Fairlawn Road in Finglas, Dublin 11 was found washed up on the beach at Dollymount Strand on February 8, 2011.
State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told Dublin Coroner's Court yesterday the arm was "cleanly" severed post-death using a very sharp knife and tattoos had been cut from the skin to prevent his identification.
Nolan had been missing since shortly after he was released from Portlaoise Prison in November 2010 having served time for burglary. In 1986 he was jailed for 14 years when he was convicted of rape and false imprisonment.
Detective Inspector Paul Scott said identification was confirmed using a DNA sample taken from the arm which matched a DNA profile on a UK police database. Nolan had been arrested at Holyhead in 2004 when he was found using a forged driving licence and a photograph. Fingerprints and DNA were taken at the time.
Nolan's last known whereabouts were when he collected methadone from the Wellmount Clinic in Finglas on November 30, 2010. The court heard he had been attending the pharmacy since November 23 having been released from prison.
Prof Cassidy carried out the post-mortem at the Dublin City Mortuary in Marino. The arm had been dismembered at the shoulder and wrist. It had been "fairly cleanly cut", she said, using a "very sharp implement".
Two large sections of skin had been removed from the upper and forearm with the cuts "cleanly excised". Prof Cassidy said these appeared to be tattoos removed to prevent identification of the limb.
There was no evidence of any bleeding or blood loss into the tissues indicating that Nolan was dead when the cuts were made. The limb had been in the water for days "if not weeks", said Prof Cassidy.
While Nolan is dead, the inquest heard there is no cause of death and how he died has not been determined. The rest of his body has not been recovered. The investigation into his death remains open, he told the court.
The jury returned an open verdict.