Homeless man died following two knife wounds to the neck, murder trial hears

Homeless Man Died Following Two Knife Wounds To The Neck, Murder Trial Hears
Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster gave evidence in the trial of Damien Singleton (30) at the Central Criminal Courts on Wednesday. Photo: PA Images
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Paul Neilan

A homeless man who was killed on Dublin's O'Connell Street was fatally injured by two knife wounds, including one to his jugular vein, a pathologist has told a murder trial.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday that father-of-one Peter Donnelly suffered two fatal injuries from a "single-blade" attack.


Damien Singleton (30), originally from Cork, but of no fixed abode, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his friend, Mr Donnelly.

Mr Donnelly (39), who was from Co Kilkenny, had been living rough around Dublin in the days before his killing, which occurred in the early hours of June 11th, 2019.

On Tuesday, before Ms Justice Tara Burns, the court viewed CCTV footage which showed Mr Donnelly being stabbed three times and "bottled" by another male, who then ran away.

Prosecuting counsel, Lorcan Staines SC, said on Tuesday it is the State's case that the CCTV footage shows Mr Singleton stab Mr Donnelly outside Dr Quirkey's casino on O'Connell Street.


Mr Staines told the jury that it is Mr Singleton's assertion that it was actually Mr Donnelly who came at the accused with the knife.

"This is simply untrue and you can see for yourself - this is murder and nothing else," said Mr Staines to the jury in his opening speech.


Mr Singleton was arrested on nearby Marlborough Street soon after the attack. A bloodied knife was found metres from where he was arrested by gardaí, who were aided by the Armed Support Unit.

In her evidence on Wednesday, Dr Bolster said a 4cm-deep wound was inflicted upon Mr Donnelly's jugular vein and to a branch of the aorta, and that there was a V-shaped stab wound close to Mr Donnelly's backbone which missed the spine.


Dr Bolster, who attended the scene at O'Connell Street, said that the left lung of Mr Donnelly had suffered almost "total collapse" and that 500ml of fresh blood was found in his lung cavity.

The expert witness said that there was no evidence of head trauma but the alcohol level found in the deceased was 241mg/ml; the equivalent of "seven-to-nine" alcoholic pints.

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Dr Bolster said cocaine, heroin and antidepressants were found in Mr Donnelly's body but any prescription drug found was of a normal level.

She said a 14cm kitchen knife shown to her by gardaí was consistent with the single-blade wounds.

Dr Bolster concluded Mr Donnelly had, as a cause of death, suffered "haemorrhage and shock, due to stab wounds", resulting in cardiac arrest.

The trial continues on Thursday at the Central Criminal Court before a jury of eight men and four women.

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