Dead sailor had 'strange' marks on face, court hears

A young sailor who was pulled in a lifeless condition from the River Liffey by his comrades had a number of cuts and grazes to his face, a murder trial heard today.

A young sailor who was pulled in a lifeless condition from the River Liffey by his comrades had a number of cuts and grazes to his face, a murder trial heard today.

At the Central Criminal Court, Duty Petty Officer Daniel O'Flynn gave evidence that after Brian Gorey was pronounced dead he noticed a number of “unusual” marks on his face.

“I did notice a cut on his forehead, a scratch on his nose, two scratches on his neck and a graze on the side of his face,” Officer O’Flynn said.

Describing the deceased as “a good friend” he recalled commenting to another colleague that the marks were “very unusual”.

He was giving evidence at the Central Criminal Court on the third day of the trial of Mr Sean Lundon (aged 21) of James Connolly Park, Tipperary town. Mr Lundon, the ship's apprentice mechanic has denied the murder of fellow crewman, Mr Brian Gorey (aged 21) of Devon Close, Castletroy View, Limerick, at Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin on April 22, 2001.

The officer, who was the nightwatchman aboard the Irish navy flagship the L.E. Eithne told how he was shocked and alarmed to see the young sailor being washed away in the River Liffey a short time after he'd kept a check on him.

"I was told he was on his way back, someone said he was drunk so I asked a cadet to escort him to make sure he wouldn't fall," he said. “To my knowledge Brian Gorey was asleep in the next room."

Some time after 5am another crewman alerted Officer O'Flynn to the deck and told him there was somebody in the water. "He said, 'I think it's Gorey'," the witness told the court.

"I saw a head in the water and knowing his hairstyle, I knew it was Gores," he said, referring to the deceased. He said he moved quickly to raise the alarm and throw a lifebuoy into the water.

"There was a comrade we'd been keeping an eye on all night in the river," he said.

He told the court that Brian Gorey had previously told him he couldn’t swim.

It is the State’s case that the accused man assaulted Able Seaman Gorey in the ship’s recreation room in the early hours of the morning. He then took or carried him down a corridor to the ship’s starboard side where he was dropped into the river.

The court heard evidence that Brian Gorey fell asleep in the recreation room after drinking for most of the night.

Ensign David Fleming told the court that he spotted the young sailor calling for help and struggling to swim five or six feet away from the ship.

“I said 'Brian are you ok, keep paddling’,” he said.

He told the court that he watched the lifebuoy land a few feet away from Mr Gorey in the river, but said he made no move towards it.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Carney and a jury of seven men and five women.

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