A jury has heard that Dublin man Adel Essalhi died after a violent assault during which he was struck almost 60 times in the head, neck and arms with a machete-type weapon and a knife.
Wayne Kinsella (aged 40) with an address at The Plaza, Tyrrelstown, but who is originally from Finglas, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Essalhi (aged 31) in the fields behind the Plaza in Tyrrelstown, Blanchardstown, on January 6, 2011.
In his opening address to the jury, Mr Alex Owens SC, for the State, said it was the prosecution case that Wayne Kinsella and a relative lured Mr Essalhi to a field behind the Plaza apartments and murdered him having “got it in to their heads” he was involved in the death of Wayne Kinsella’s brother Lee.
State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy agreed with Mr Owens that the body of Adel Essalhi was found in a water-filled ditch and was identified by fingerprint examination. She said the deceased man was the victim of a violent assault during which he suffered 58 separate injuries to his head, neck and trunk.
She said a post-mortem examination found that the injuries were a mixture of cutting wounds, stab wounds and chop injuries, which could have been caused by a combination of an axe or heavy machete and a knife.
Professor Cassidy told Mr Owens that the deceased suffered 19 chop wounds to the head, which wounded his soft tissue and fractured his skull, forehead and jaw. She said there was a cluster of seven stab wounds to the right side of the neck, as well as six incise, or slash, wounds to the left side of the neck.
Professor Cassidy said that one of these slash wounds severed the carotid artery in the neck, which she described as the main blood-carrying vessel to the brain.
She said that because of the extensive damage to Adel Essalhi’s skull it was “highly likely” that he sustained the majority of the chop injuries while he was on the ground, while other chop injuries and fractures to his hands suggested he initially tried to defend himself.
Professor Cassidy said there was evidence that an attempt was made to set the body alight post-mortem, as there was fire damage to the skin of the trunk and left arm and the deceased man’s clothing smelled of accelerant.
She also told the court that there was damage to the head and hands of the body due to animal scavenging.
Professor Cassidy said there was a high level of alcohol in the deceased man’s urine, while the presence of therapeutic levels of the drugs Tramadol and Diazepam may have slowed Adel Essalhi’s reactions down and made him appear drunker than he was.
She agreed with Mr Owens that a machete uncovered by gardaí in a drain in a cornfield in Tyrrelstown could have caused the chop injuries as evidenced on Adel Essalhi’s body, but could not have caused the stab wounds, which were likely inflicted with a knife.
Professor Cassidy said that Adel Essalhi’s death was due to chop injuries to the head and upper neck as well as stab wounds and incise wounds to the neck.
She agreed with counsel for the defence, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC, that injuries inflicted by stabbing or by the chopping action of a machete necessarily involved a “fair degree of proximity” between attacker and victim.
Professor Cassidy told Mr O’Higgins that the severing of the carotid artery would have lead to spurting as the blood was released under high pressure.
She agreed with Mr O’Higgins that if someone were standing in close proximity to this spray, blood could have transferred to their clothes.
The trial continues at the Central Criminal Court on Monday in front of Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of seven women and five men.