Jury in Nicola Collins murder trial continue deliberations

The jury in the murder trial of a 45-year-old Charleville man who denies murdering his girlfriend will resume their deliberations tomorrow.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon sent the jury of nine men and three women home at 4.30pm yesterday after they had deliberated for less than an hour.

The late Nicola Collins

The judge finished her charge to the jury before lunchtime but between the lunchbreak and the review of some evidence on foot of questions from the jury the time given to deliberation was only 50 minutes so far.

Cathal O'Sullivan, 45, who is originally from Charleville, County Cork, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murdering Nicola Collins on March 27 2017 at a flat at 6A Popham's Road, Farranree, Cork, over the Gala store. The late Ms Collins was a native of St Brendan’s Park in Tralee, Co Kerry, but had been living at Clashduv Road in the Togher area of Cork for a number of years.

When the trial opened on November 13, prosecution senior counsel, Tom Creed, said: “The prosecution case is that he beat Nicola Collins to death.”

The defence is that at various times over the three days she lunged at him and he put his hands up or held her to protect himself but never assaulted her, and that her fatal head injury happened by slipping in the bath.

92 minutes after phoning a friend and having a half-hour conversation he phoned 999 and said:

“Jesus Christ, she is not breathing, like. I pumped her a few times and gave her mouth to mouth. Nothing coming back.”

The friend said O’Sullivan told him she was dead but he had revived her. O’Sullivan said that was crazy and that his friend was blurry about the call.

When O’Sullivan was asked by the first gardaí on the scene if there was an altercation he said:

“She came at me, I pushed her... I washed her, we would wash each other, like.” A total of 125 separate bruises and lacerations were counted on the body and head of the deceased at post-mortem, Dr Margaret Bolster said. Injuries included broken jawbone, multiple facial and scalp bruises and swelling of the brain.

“It was brain trauma which led to her death”, the assistant state pathologist testified.

O’Sullivan attributed her head injury to a fall getting out of the bath. When Dr Bolster was asked about this, she said: “We could go through every single injury. I am talking about the multiplicity of injuries, you are talking about falls from every different angle.”

Cathal O'Sullivan

O’Sullivan said the deceased drank all the time, blamed him for things and had a personality disorder. The defence said the accused denigrated the character of the deceased in his evidence.

He described himself as having qualified from UCC as a neuroscientist but was on a disability allowance, suffering from severe anxiety, depression and social phobia.

“She was comfortable around me. She passed away beside me. She was safe with me…She was happy in her last moments. We were singing songs before she f***ing passed away.”

“I cried, ‘Nicola, come back. Nicola, Nicola, Nicola, come back.’ I did hit her a lot at that time (when Ms Collins was dying). I was shouting, ‘Nicola, Nicola, wake up. Come back. F***ing help. I thought she was f***ing joking, like. “I thought she was joking. I thought she was holding her breath or something. I thought she was trying to freak me out.

“I did hit her a number of times trying to bring her back.”

“How do you explain over 130 injuries?” detectives asked and he replied, “She got injured coming at me. She was the instigator. I did not assault her.”

During three days in the witness box, the accused was asked by Mr Creed, “Did you strike her at all, apart from the accidental marks?” “That depends on what you mean. Did I contact her? Yes. Did I do it on purpose? No. Did I cause it? I don’t know, that is English. That is where I get poor with my description.”

The jury in the murder trial of a 45-year-old Charleville man who denies murdering his girlfriend will resume their deliberations tomorrow.

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