Jury hears post-mortem report in murder trial

A 21-year-old Dublin man died from blood loss caused by a stab wound to the heart, the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Brian Rattigan (aged 28), Cooley Rd, Drimnagh, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Declan Gavin (aged 21) Mourne Rd, Drimnagh, at Crumlin Rd, Crumlin on August 25, 2001.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Rattigan got out of a Nissan Micra that pulled up outside Abrakebabra fast food outlet at the Crumlin shopping centre before he "made for Declan Gavin" with a knife.

Ms Pauline Walley SC, prosecuting, read the jury a report on the post-mortem examination of Declan Gavin which was carried out by former State Pathologist Dr John Morrison at Dublin City Morgue on August 25, 2001.

The jury heard that the principal injury was a stab wound to the right side of the chest which was two inches long and penetrated the right atrium of the heart causing blood to collect in the chest cavity.

Mr Gavin suffered a second superficial injury to his right index finger which Dr Morrison classified as a defensive wound which was likely caused by Mr Gavin trying to grab the knife while he was being stabbed.

Dr Morrison noted that a urine analysis carried out on Mr Gavin indicated that at the time of death, his blood alcohol level was high.

Dr Morrison stated: "At that level his reflexes would have been somewhat slowed and could have adversely affected his ability to avoid the fatal, final, thrust of the knife."

Dr Morrison concluded that the cause of death was shock and blood loss caused by a stab wound to the right appendage of the heart.

Patrick Herbert told the jury that he owned the Coolock Glass company in the summer of 2001.

Mr Herbert told the court that on July 16, 2001 two of his employees replaced the window to the left of the door in Abrakebabra at the Crumlin shopping centre.

William Needham told the court he worked as a window-cleaner during the summer of 2001 and cleaned the windows of various establishments at the Crumlin shopping centre.

Mr Needham said he cleaned Abrakebabra’s windows on the Wednesday before the alleged murder and described the windows as being in "a clean state" when he was finished.

Det Gda Caroline Hughes a photographer with the Garda Technical Bureau, told Ms Walley SC, prosecuting, she photographed marks on the exterior windows of Abrakebabra on the direction of Det Gda Christopher O’Connor.

At the opening of the trial the prosecution claimed that Brian Rattigan’s handprint was discovered on the window of Abrakebabra.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice George Birmingham and a jury of eight men and four women.


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