Pathologist tells murder trial of 'sustained, severe assault'

The State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, today told a jury at the fourth day of a murder trial of a Cork man accused of murder that the victim "died from head injuries as a result from a sustained and severe assault".

The State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, today told a jury at the fourth day of a murder trial of a Cork man accused of murder that the victim "died from head injuries as a result from a sustained and severe assault".

Mark Allingham, aged 23, of Fr Murphy Place, Midleton, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to the killing of Gerard Hackett, aged 49, of the Cork Simon Community and Reen Downey Place, Cork City on a unknown date between October 16 and 21, 2002.

Dr Cassidy today gave evidence saying the wounds inflicted to Mr Hackett's torso and skull were "consistent with blows from an axe".

The State Pathologist then held the alleged murder weapon, a wooden handled axe with a red blade, in her hand and said: "a weapon like this could have caused the injuries."

Mr Hackett according to Dr Cassidy had an "extraordinary large number of wounds,"

Addressing the jury, Dr Cassidy outlined a litany of wounds Mr Hackett suffered in the final moments of his life.

The deceased had two fractures to the top of the head, multiple fractures to the nose, cheekbones and jaws, lacerations to the hands and legs and large bruising to the brain.

Mr Patrick McCarthy, SC, prosecution counsel asked Dr Cassidy had Mr Hackett been hit with the axe firstly to the head?

The State Pathologist said it was "difficult to be precise" but the injuries to the head suggest that they were "inflicted one after another" with the bulk of the injuries at the "end of the assault" when the victim "couldn't move".

Mr Hackett "was partly clothed but had some bruising to the penis which was highly suggestive of a sexual nature to the assault," Dr Cassidy told the jury today.

When asked under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr John O'Kelly, SC, was the assault consistent with a frenzied attack, Dr Cassidy said "it was a sustained attack and was an example of overkill."

Today Garda Brendan Coughlan, exhibits officer in the murder trial, showed the alleged murder weapons including a bloodied concrete block, a four ft metal pipe, an iron bar, a six ft metal gutter and a spear like metal bar.

The remaining videotaped interview was today shown to the jury who saw Mr Allingham admit to gardaí to killing Mr Hackett with an axe seven times in the head after Mr Hackett allegedly tried to have sex with him at a derelict house known as The Rock, Towns Park, Midleton, Co. Cork.

The jury today saw Detective Sgt Brian Goulding ask Mr Allingham what was his intention when he produced the axe on Mr Hackett, to which the accused replied, "to give him a few slaps,"

"Did you intend to kill Mr Hackett?," Detective Sgt Goulding then asked the accused. "I suppose so, yeah," Mr Allingham replied.

It was revealed to the jury today that Mr Allingham is bisexual and that he believed Mr Hackett was a homosexual.

Today Dr John Thompson, GP to the accused told the jury under cross examination by the defence counsel, Mr John O'Kelly, SC, that Mr Allingham's home life from a child was "far from ideal".

Dr Thompson said today that Mr Allingham's mother was "depressed from time to time" and it was generally a dysfunctional family.

From an early age, Dr Thompson said Mr Allingham showed early signs of "emotional upset". In 1986, Dr Thompson said Mr Allingham aged just six years of age was taken into care including his two brothers.

Dr Thompson told the jury that Mr Allingham had attempted suicide on one occasion and "binge drank".

The prosecution counsel, Mr Patrick McCarthy, SC today finished giving evidence to the murder trial and tomorrow the summing up speeches of both sides will continue before Mr Justice Diarmuid O'Donovan.

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