Victim was ‘badly battered’ about head

A murder trial jury has heard that the skull of a man killed in Athy over two years ago was severely fractured after he was “badly battered about the head”.

Seamus Morgan, aged 49, with an address at The Hollands, Athy, Co Kildare, is charged with murdering Laurence Keane, aged 56, on July 19, 2013.

Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Morgan pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Keane.

Tom O’Connell, prosecuting, told the jury it is the prosecution’s case that the attack on Mr Keane, which led to his death, took place “shortly before midnight on July 18, 2013” but the deceased did not die until the following day.

“I think the prosecution will establish to your satisfaction that it was an unlawful murder.”

The court heard Mr Keane was “very badly battered about the head with an object which caused him severe fracturing of his skull in at least four places.”

Mr O’Connell said the court will hear Mr Keane was attacked in a laneway between St John’s Lane and the Greenhills estate in Athy between 11.30pm and 11.45pm on July 18, 2013.

“He died in Naas General Hospital as a result of his injuries. A postmortem was carried out by deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis who concluded that the cause of death was as a result of blunt force trauma to the head with four fractures to his skull,” he said.

Counsel told the jury they will hear evidence from eyewitnesses concerning “Seamus Morgan attacking Laurence Keane”.

The court heard these eyewitnesses were a “number of young men on bicycles in in the “reasonably well-lit lane-way at the time of the killing” who knew both the accused and deceased.

“Two of those who observed the assault will say they saw Seamus Morgan assault Laurence Keane. One other (person’s) recollection is that he saw Mr Morgan assault somebody but he couldn’t say who was on the ground. There is also evidence that the attacker, Mr Morgan, used an iron bar to beat Mr Keane with,” said Mr O’Connell.

Counsel told the court that on July 19, 2013, gardaí obtained a warrant to search Mr Morgan’s home and found a pair of wet, grey and yellow Adidas runners in a bin in the garden

. Mr O’Connell told the jury they will hear the runners were later sent to Dr Hilary Clarke at the Forensic Science Lab.

“Dr Clarke found small blood stains on both the right and left runner. She will tell you the blood profiles found were full DNA profiles which matched the blood sample taken from Mr Keane at his postmortem. Dr Clarke will tell you that the chance of finding this profile if the DNA had come from someone unrelated to Mr Keane would be considerably less than one in one thousand million,” said counsel.

Mr O’Connell said the jury will hear how Mr Morgan was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Mr Keane on July 25, 2013, and detained at Newbridge Garda Station for “five periods in all”.

“He admitted to gardaí he had been in the laneway with Mr Keane and there was long standing animosity between the two men.

The trial continues.


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