The jury in the Anne Corcoran trial have heard that gardaí found furniture, rubble and rubbish piled from floor to ceiling inside her killer’s house.
Crime scene examiner Sergeant David O’Regan described the home of 50-year-old painter Oliver Hayes, who has admitted killing the 60-year-old widow at his house on Clancool Terrace, Bandon.
Hayes has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mrs Corcoran but guilty to her manslaughter between January 19 and 21 2009. He also admits falsely imprisoning her and stealing €3,000 from her bank account after she went missing from her home at Maulnaskimlehane, Kilbrittain near Bandon.
Sgt O’Regan was part of the team that had to remove the front door in order to search Hayes’ home from February 5 to 8.
He showed the Central Criminal Court photographs of the hall, with electrical items and a wardrobe blocking the entrance to one downstairs room and a couch blocking the entrance to the other.
Gardai had to erect a tent in the garden in which to store and examine rubble from the house, he said.
“There was furniture, rubble and other items piled to the ceiling and an upturned couch on its side. There were two dogs on another couch,” he explained of one downstairs room. “It was not possible to see the floor in this room. The rubbish was six to nine inches deep.”
He showed the jury two pieces of orange nylon rope found in the room, along with a grey Urban Vintage jacket and black and red Cappa jacket. The court already saw footage of a man wearing similar jackets at ATMs when cash was withdrawn from the victim’s account.
“I took a mobile phone and a set of rosary beads from the right pocket,” he said of the Cappa jacket. “I took a set of car and house keys and disposable gloves from the left pocket.”
The gloves and keys were shown to the jury along with a bloodstained denim shirt with hairs still attached.
“On the floor where the dogs had been lying, a map of Co Cork was opened showing the Bandon area,” continued the sergeant.
He found nothing when he sifted through fireplace ashes in the other downstairs room, which was in a similar condition. There was more rubbish on the stairs, along with skirting boards and a door, and there was a wardrobe in the small landing.
“The room to the left was full of old furniture. It wasn’t possible to get in without moving it,” he said of the first upstairs room. “The right room was partially blocked by a wardrobe.”
It is in this second room that the prosecution alleges Mrs Corcoran was murdered. The jury saw photographs of blood-like stains on its walls, some of which were missing plaster.
The sergeant held up a blood-stained cooker hob, coal shovel, plastic bucket and piece of wood found in the room. He identified a bloodstained shirt found in a black bag there. The jury saw photos of more blood staining on a door jam and wine rack in this room.
Sgt O’Regan identified a black baseball cap with an orange logo, found in the defendant’s van. Runners found in the van were destroyed during the recent flooding, the court heard.
Neighbour Carmel Sweetman described Hayes as clean-shaven and well dressed when she spoke to him near his home on January 21. They had never spoken before but chatted about how ‘terrible’ it was that Mrs Corcoran was missing.
The jury earlier heard that on January 22 Hayes gave his mechanic €400 that he had owed him for two years.
“He owed €391.84,” said Lawrence Donovan of Ballinrobe, Ballinspittle in a statement read to court. “He gave me €400 cash in €50 notes. I was getting him change. He said not to bother.”
Mr Donovan handed the money to gardaí when he learned that it belonged to Mrs Corcoran.
Jim McMahon of Hibernian Aviva said he informed Hayes in mid-January last year that his van insurance would expire on January 22 if he didn’t pay his arrears.
“On the 21st of January, payment was made of €430, which cleared the full outstanding balance,” he testified. The money, paid in cash at the city branch, included an overpayment.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of five women and seven men and is expected to last two weeks.