Garda gives evidence at child murder trial

A former soldier charged with murdering an 18-month-old infant appeared drunk when gardai arrived at the scene on the morning of the killing, a murder trial jury heard.

A former soldier charged with murdering an 18-month-old infant appeared drunk when gardai arrived at the scene on the morning of the killing, a murder trial jury heard.

Garda Liam Hogan told the Central Criminal Court that he responded to an emergency call about an incident at a house in Jobstown, Tallaght, Co Dublin, on the morning of June 5, 2000.

On route, he was informed that it was a fatal stabbing involving an infant.

Garda Hogan was giving evidence in the trial of Mr John Reilly (32) of Crooksling, Brittas, Co Dublin, who is charged with the murder of Oisin Reilly Murphy on June 5 2000, at Kiltalown Road, Jobstown, Tallaght, Co Dublin.

Mr Reilly, a former Irish Army Ranger and former UN sanctions inspector in Iraq, denies the charge.

The witness said when he arrived at the house at around 9.30am, he saw a distressed man, who he now knew to be Thomas Reilly, the baby's father, holding his son on a couch in the sitting room.

Mr Reilly's brother, Hugh, was sitting beside him trying to comfort him.

The baby had a "long wound on the left side of his neck" and another to the back of his neck, Garda Hogan told the jury.

He said the accused, who was sitting propped up on an armchair, leaned forward and said 'What the fuck is going on?' or words to that effect.

Questioned by prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey BL, the witness agreed that the accused appeared to be drunk and "dozy".

He noticed that the lower part of Mr Reilly's jeans were "covered in blood". He told the jury that a blood stained knife, wrapped up in a blanket, was lying on the sitting room floor.

Cross-examined by Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, the witness said John Reilly appeared to be staring at the floor and he appeared to be "unfocussed".

Asked if the accused seemed "confused", the witness replied he could not say "whether he was confused or not."

He agreed that he had used the term in his statement of evidence but that it was "an inappropriate choice of words".

In other evidence, the jury was shown a blood stained multi-tooled knife recovered from the floor of the sitting room of Kiltalown Road, where, it is alleged, the murder took place.

Detective Garda William Brennan of the Garda Technical Bureau said opening the knife involved inserting a finger or thumb into the recess of the handle and forcing the blade outwards.

Asked if much force was needed to make the blade protract, the witness replied: "It's quite stiff, yes."

The trial continues.

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