The man accused of murdering a 38-year-old woman found dead in a flat over a shop in Cork claims that she slipped in the shower and hit her head against a star-shaped bath top and other objects.
This claim by the accused emerged during cross-examination of pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, who reported that the woman died as a result of brain trauma due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Cathal O'Sullivan, 45, who is originally from Charleville, Co Cork is on trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork and denies murdering Nicola Collins on March 27, 2016 at a flat at 6A Popham's Road, Farranree, Cork, over the Gala store.
The accused man’s senior counsel Colman Cody questioned Dr Bolster today about injuries to the deceased and referred to what Cathal O’Sullivan told gardaí during their investigation.
“He informed gardaí that earlier in the evening on March 26, 2017, that as a result of Ms Collins suffering diarrhoea… she used the shower and that during the course of that shower that Ms Collins was caused to lose her balance and fell.
"She gripped the shower curtain and struck her head off the tap of the bath, a star-shaped tap and fell on certain items present in the bath,” Mr Cody said.
Quoting directly from O’Sullivan’s interview with gardaí, the accused said, “She tried to hold on to the railing which fell. I managed to get her out of the bath.” Mr Cody asked Dr Bolster if such a fall could explain the head injury and also asked if a fall could explain other injuries.
Dr Bolster replied, “We could go through every single injury. I am talking about the multiplicity of injuries, you are talking about falls from every different angle.” Mr Cody replied, “It is not unreasonable.” Dr Bolster said, “That is for the jury to decide.”
Mr Cody said, “We are talking about someone (the deceased) who suffered from seizures. I know you are talking about the global situation, I am looking at specific injuries.”
Dr Bolster said, “Each injury is caused by blunt impact for whatever reason. One of those reasons could be falling.”
Asked about a fractured tooth and whether that could have been caused by any impact such as a fall because of the poor underlying condition of the tooth, Dr Bolster agreed but added, “This is a localised blow.”
Mr Cody SC took issue with the way the witness was gesturing as she spoke. “You are holding your fists, if you don’t mind.”
Dr Bolster found that the deceased had 125 separate bruises and lacerations to her head and body at post-mortem. She said these bruises and lacerations extended from her scalp to her ankles.
Dr Bolster told how she found Ms Collins’ body lying unclothed on the bedroom floor in the upstairs apartment rented by Mr O’Sullivan and she found bloodstained clothes including a bra, underpants, t-shirt and jeans in the bathroom where she also noticed blood stains on the sink, wall and tiles.
Mr Cody SC referred to the late Ms Collins suffering from seizures, which had been documented in medical reports in the past, and he referred to injuries described as grip injuries, stating that the accused man “had on numerous occasions to help her and lift her up”.
The trial continues on Monday.