The State Pathologist has told the jury in a cold case murder trial that she believes the fatal assault on the alleged victim was “swift”.
John Joseph Malone of Newpark in Kilkenny is accused of strangling Anne Nancy Smyth before setting her home on fire in September 1987.
When Nancy Smyth’s body was found in the charred remains of her home on Wolfe Tone Street in Kilkenny City, it was initially thought she died in tragic circumstances, but a post mortem revealed she met a far more violent end.
The State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy said her predecessor didn't find any soot in her airways – a clear sign she was already dead when she was exposed to the fire.
She agreed with the conclusion that Mrs. Smyth was subjected to head injuries and strangled manually before the fire was started.
Under cross-examination, she said there was no evidence she’d been gripped or grabbed or subjected to a prolonged struggle and she agreed that it was probably a “swift” assault.
It is the prosecution’s case that John Joseph Malone beat and strangled Mrs. Smyth before setting the house on fire. He denies the charge.