Assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster outlined the cause as the inquest into the death of Nicola Collins, aged 38, was opened and adjourned, yesterday.
Ms Collins was originally from Tralee, in Co Kerry, but had been living with her three children on Clashduv Road, in Togher, on Cork’s southside.
She was found with serious head injuries in an apartment above a shop on Popham’s Rd, Farranree, in the early hours of March 27, after emergency services were alerted by a person in the flat.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, she was pronounced dead at the scene and a Garda investigation was launched.
Dr Bolster told Cork City coroner, Dr Philip Comyn, yesterday, that an autopsy of Ms Collins’s remains at Cork University Hospital established the cause of death as brain swelling, with traumatic subdural haemorrhage and diffuse axonal injury — a devastating form of traumatic brain injury — due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Detective Inspector Declan O’Sullivan told the inquest that criminal proceedings have been initiated, and he was granted an adjournment of the inquest, pending the outcome of that process.
Following a detailed Garda investigation, a man was arrested and brought before Cork District Court, in August, where he was charged with murder.
Cathal O’Sullivan, aged 44, who is originally from Charleville in North Cork, was remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of Nicola Collins at his flat at Popham’s Rd, Farranree, in Cork, on March 27.
The court was told that he replied “not guilty” when the charge was put to him.
He was granted free legal aid, after the court was told he was dependent on a disability allowance.
Det Insp O’Sullivan said a Garda family liaison officer has been appointed and would keep Ms Collins’ family updated on the coronial proceedings, which will not resume until criminal proceedings are completed.
Mourners at Ms Collins’ funeral, in Tralee, were told of her struggle with life, of her unfair share of suffering, her tendency to be hard on herself, and of her honesty and humour.