Ambulance crew feared for safety, murder trial hears

Two ambulance crewmen told a murder trial jury at the Central Criminal court today how they feared for their own safety while tending to a stabbing victim at a house in Galway two years ago.

Two ambulance crewmen told a murder trial jury at the Central Criminal court today how they feared for their own safety while tending to a stabbing victim at a house in Galway two years ago.

Denis O’Neill of the University College Hospital Galway ambulance crew, told the court how he and his partner, Jimmy Lawless, locked themselves into a kitchen while tending to stabbing victim Patrick Shaughnessy after they overheard a man’s voice saying "I’ll cut you to pieces" outside the kitchen door.

Mr Lawless also testified to hearing a man’s voice threatening to cut someone "into pieces". "We believed there could have been another incident if we didn’t lock the doors," Mr Lawless told the court.

He told how a tall man then came to a broken window of the utility room and enquired "how’s the patient?".

"I told him that the gardaí were on their way and that we were waiting inside until the gardaí came," said Mr Lawless.

When the ambulance crew first arrived at the scene they saw two men outside, "one in his 50s, tall, another was smaller," according to Mr O’Neill.

"It looked as if the small guy was trying to calm the larger man down," he said.

He said he found the deceased man lying on the kitchen floor inside, "face blue", with "no breathing, no pulse and his eyes were fixed and dilated".

"We knew that he was brain-dead at that stage," said Mr Lawless.

The two emergency medical technicians were giving evidence on the first day of the murder trial of Michael Reilly, aged 52, of Corrach Bui, Rahoon, Galway.

Mr Reilly has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Patrick Shaughnessy, aged 28, of Coogan Park, Galway, at his home at Corrach Bui on May 25 2002.

Mr Reilly sat listening to the evidence while facing the jury from the far side of the courtroom today.

Earlier Shane Murphy, SC, opened the case for the prosecution, telling the jury that witnesses will testify that a number of men called to Mr Reilly’s home at Corrach Bui, Rahoon, Galway in the early hours of May 25 2002 and "drinks were consumed".

He said that while the group of men were talking, "words were exchanged" between two men.

"As a result of these words, it would seem that what had been a peaceful event changed," said Mr Murphy.

"A number of witnesses will say they saw the defendant come towards the deceased with a knife and stab him in the chest," he said.

Mr Murphy told the jury that the accused stabbed Mr Shaughnessy twice through the front of his chest with a knife and "within a very short space of time, Patrick Shaughnessy was dead".

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of eight men and four women.

More in this section