Two of four wounds inflicted on a man during a fight over a minor traffic accident were fatal, the State Pathologist Prof John Harbison told a murder trial jury today.
Prof Harbison was giving evidence at the third day of the trial of Mr John James Kelly (38) at the Central Criminal Court. Mr Kelly denies the murder of Mr Chris Cybulla (42) at The Commons, Curreeny, Kilcommon, Co Tipperary on December 28, 1999.
The State Pathologist carried out a post-mortem on the deceased from which he concluded that death was due to "bleeding into the left side of the chest from two stab wounds into the left lung", the court heard. More than a litre of blood passed into the left chest cavity of the deceased "associated with the stab wound tract".
"Two other lesser wounds passed behind the ribcage [and these] lesser wounds would have been survivable had they been the only wounds," Prof Harbison said.
Mr Cybulla was beaten with a stick and stabbed four times in a row over a traffic accident with the accused. This has been described in court as "a bit of overtaking... and an element of boy-racing competitiveness" during which Mr Cybulla crashed into the door of the accused man's car and drove
Both men lived on the same 'New Age Traveller' campsite in Tipperary at the time of the incident.
Under cross-examination by Mr Paul Ramsey QC for the defence, Prof Harbison said that the deceased man "most likely was holding his arm up, as his arm escaped injury". He agreed that it "didn't require much force" to cause the injuries and that they were "most likely" inflicted when the deceased was in an upright position.
The court also heard that the accused man told gardai that he "could have got away with it" but that he "wanted to face up to it". In a statement read to the court, Det Gda Kevin Kennedy said that the accused man told him, "I could have got away with it y'know, I could have gone over the hills and
disappeared, but I wanted to face up to it. I used to do cross-country".
Ms Annette Ford from the Forensic Science Department gave evidence that tests carried out on car parts from two vehicles "supported the allegation" that the cars had collided with each other.
Ms Ford told the court that she had examined paint and broken pieces of indicator lens from both vehicles and concluded that contact had been made between both cars.
The accused man told gardai that when he confronted Mr Cybulla back at the campsite he believed he was going to "slash" him with a sword before he stabbed him. The deceased man was known to make knives, and although evidence has been given that he had a large machete-style knife, only a
penknife was found in his trousers following his death.
Another man who lived in the campsite, Mr Craig Sargent, gave evidence that he met the accused after the incident and that he was "upset". "He didn't know what to do really," he said. Mr Sargent drove to a nearby phonebox with the accused to call an ambulance, but they had to walk when their car ran out of petrol. On the way, he said the accused man handed him a knife.
"I threw it away, I didn't even realise I was holding it, so intense was the situation," he said. The trial continues tomorrow(Wed) before Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins and a jury.