Garda statement claims murder weapon was found next to body of Limerick pensioner

A court heard today that the lifeless body of an elderly Limerick man covered in scratches was found by gardaí with what was believed to be the murder weapon lying nearby.

Christopher McNamara of Good Shepherd Villas, Pennywell road in Limerick has pleaded not guilty to the murder of James Boyce (aged 71) at St Munchins Street, St Mary’s Park in Limerick between March 6, 2011 and March 7, 2011.

A statement given by the garda who discovered the body of Mr Boyce was read at the murder trial at the Central Criminal Court today.

The statement made by garda Enda Moroney of Henry Street Garda Station, was read to the jury by prosecuting council Micheal O’Higgins.

In the statement, garda Moroney detailed the moments leading to and directly following the discovery of Mr Boyce at his home at St Munchins Street in St Mary’s Park.

He read that at 18.40, garda Moroney responded to a call to go to 150 St Munchins Street where upon entering the house, he noticed blood on the sitting room floor.

The jury heard that garda Moroney continued upstairs to the bedroom of James Boyce where he discovered the lifeless body in the bed of who he now knows to be James Boyce.

Prosecution read that there was a piece of wood on his (James’) chest and that there was a cut below his right ear. He read that there were scratch marks on his shoulder, there was blood on his right cheek and blood below his left and right nostrils.

The jury heard that several items were scattered on the ground including a brush handle which lay on the floor near the bed and a brush head which was separate from the handle.

The court heard that the scene was designated as a crime scene at 19.45pm on March 7, 2011.

A neighbour of the deceased, Christopher Stewart McNamara of 148 St Munchins Street, gave evidence that he saw the accused enter Mr Boyce's house on the night of the murder.

Mr McNamara confirmed to prosecution that at around midnight on Sunday night, while walking to his mother's house, he saw Christopher McNamara walking in the door of Jimmy Boyce's house and closing the door behind him. Mr McNamara said that he didn’t take any heed of him walking in, saying he usually goes in at different times "to do bits and pieces".

The jury were shown CCTV footage recording the movements of what is believed to be the accused compiled by Garda David John Nolan of Mary's Street Garda station in Limerick. A further series of stills will be shown to the jury tomorrow.

The trial, which continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of seven men and five women, is expected to last two weeks.

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