Limerick killing 'like some sort of ritual', says pathologist20/03/2013 - 18:27:52
A pathologist has described a Limerick killing as unusual because of the "methodical nature" of wounds concentrated on the heart "almost in some sort of ritual".
Dr Declan Gilsenan was giving evidence for the defence in the trial of a 33-year-old man charged with murdering a 54-year-old man in his home on September 30, 2011.
The former deputy state pathologist told the Central Criminal Court that the first of the 41 wounds to Martin Purcell was a cut-throat wound to his neck.
“My conclusion was that the deceased was undoubtedly sitting in that chair and someone grabbed him from behind, pulled his head back and then cut his throat,” he said, referring to a photograph of a blood-stained chair.
“The wound to the neck was a fatal wound,” he testified yesterday (Wednesday). “Whether he died immediately is unknown. He would have been gravely injured or dead.”
He agreed with the official post-mortem results that the next set of wounds were to Mr Purcell’s chest.
“Having bled considerably into the chair, the deceased was taken and put lying on the ground,” he said. “He was put on the ground and stabbed in a strangely methodical way.”
He said that the bigger and deeper wounds were to Mr Purcell’s heart.
“I don’t think he was alive to any extent after he was put on the ground, and maybe not before that,” he said.
“He was certainly unconscious from the moment the neck wound was inflicted, and I think there were five or ten minutes between the throat wounds and the other wounds,” he said.
“If he wasn’t dead, he was in total blood-loss shock,” he said. “He had virtually bled out from having his jugular vein cut.”
Dr Gilsenan said he had been at more than 100 murder scenes, but said that this one was unusual ‘because of the almost methodical nature of the chest wounds’.
“This doesn’t seem to have been frenzied. It seems controlled,” he said. “This seems concentrated on the heart area almost in some sort of ritual.”
Under cross-examination by the prosecution, he said that the chest wounds had been inflicted at a right angle.
He said the perpetrator was holding the knife ‘with some deliberation because they (the wounds) weren’t going all over the place’.
The pathologist also said that there was no evidence that the deceased felt anything at all.
Gerard Manning of Upper Gerald Griffin Street, Limerick has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Purcell between September 28 and 30 2011.
The trial has already heard that Gerard Manning’s fingerprints were found in Mr Purcell’s blood at the scene, his apartment on Wickham Street in the city
However, when questioned about this, he told Gardaí he didn’t know the deceased, had never been in his home and that it was a ‘stitch up’.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven men and five women.
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