‘Ligature’ cloth had DNA of accused and dead man

A knotted piece of black cloth — described as a ligature — contained the DNA of both the accused and the dead man, a forensic expert told a murder trial.

Ciprian Grozavu, aged 39, of Bridge House, Sean Hales Place, Bandon, Co Cork, denies the charge of murdering John Forrester, aged 42, at Bridge House on Nov 12, 2011.

The accused had told gardaí Catherine O’Connor, who previously admitted the murder, had done it alone.

Stephen Clifford, from the Garda Forensic Science Laboratory, told Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that he had examined a knotted piece of torn black fabric. He said the blood-stained label tested positive for the DNA of Mr Forrester and Mr Grozavu.

Mr Clifford said the knot on the fabric was also blood-stained so he examined this and found DNA for two people — again that of the deceased and the accused.

Mr Clifford said O’Connor was excluded as a source of DNA on the piece of black fabric.

Ray Boland, defending, cross-examined the witness who agreed his tests were done on the basis of a garda briefing at the crime scene that O’Connor and Mr Grozavu were both being treated as suspects because they had been seen drinking in the company of the deceased in the hours prior to his death.

Mr Boland said Mr Grozavu told detectives that O’Connor had pulled tightly on the neck strings of Mr Forrester’s hoodie.

“You were never told about that,” Mr Boland asked Mr Clifford.

“Not specifically,” he replied.

Mr Boland told Mr Clifford that Mr Grozavu had said to gardaí that he and the deceased used to wear each other’s clothes. He asked if that could explain the DNA of both men being on the fabric if it had come from a black T-shirt. The witness accepted that proposition.

In his closing speech, Tim O’Leary, prosecuting, said there was more than enough evidence for the jury to convict Grozavu of murder.

Tom Creed, defending, urged the jury to find Mr Grozavu not guilty of murder. He stressed O’Connor’s admission that she killed Mr Forrester as the proverbial elephant in the room.

The jury will resume deliberations today. They deliberated for almost 90 minutes yesterday. after being addressed on legal issues by Mr Justice Paul Carney.

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