Dead man’s DNA found on the shoes of accused

A Limerick murder trial has heard that DNA matching the dead man’s was found on the clothing and shoes of one of the men accused of murdering him.

Seán Flanagan, aged 28, and his uncle Paul Colbert, aged 46, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect, in Limerick City, are charged with the murder of Gerard McMahon, aged 43, on Jan 18, 2012. They have pleaded not guilty to murdering him outside his cousin’s house, also on Lenihan Avenue.

Ian Flanagan, aged 24, brother of Seán, of the same address as his co-accused, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of assisting an offender on the same date. He is accused of removing a CCTV recording device from their house, knowing it might form evidence in a prosecution.

Forensic scientist John Hoade told the Central Criminal Court that he examined tracksuit bottoms and a pair of runners attributed to Seán Flanagan.

“A mixed DNA profile was generated from the blood on the toe of the right runner,” he said, explaining to the jury that it had DNA from two people. “The major profile matched the deceased’s profile,” he said, adding that the chance of another person having the same profile was less than one in 1,000 million.

A DNA profile generated from blood staining on the tracksuit bottoms also matched Mr McMahon’s profile, Mr Hoade added.

He was asked about the pattern of this staining.

“The blood on the lower left leg of Seán Flanagan’s tracksuit bottoms was airborne,” he said. “It’s my opinion that Seán Flanagan was in close proximity to Gerard McMahon when Mr McMahon was bleeding.”

Earlier yesterday, state pathologist Marie Cassidy testified Mr McMahon died of stab wounds to his back.

She said death was principally due to stab wounds to the back of his trunk, with stab wounds to his head a contributory factor.

He had 10 knife wounds to his head, mainly to the back and left side, and six stab wounds to the back of his body, Prof Cassidy said, adding three of these stab wounds had penetrated deeply, injury the right lung, liver and left kidney.

She said that the deceased was attacked from behind and it was possible that more than one weapon was used.

She examined a small axe found in the home of the accused men shortly after the killing, and said that it could have caused incise wounds on the head, but not stab wounds.

The State alleges that Seán Flanagan and Paul Colbert acted in joint enterprise to attack Mr McMahon outside his cousin’s house.

The trial continues.


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