Corkman left 'deeply comatose' after attack, court told

A Corkman who was left in a coma after an attack and died nine months later was in a "deeply comatose" state, a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

A Corkman who was left in a coma after an attack and died nine months later was in a "deeply comatose" state, a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Dr Michael O'Sullivan, a consultant neurosurgeon at Cork University Hospital, told the jury of nine women and three men that when he measured Mr Scully's level of consciousness using the Glasgow Como Scale, he registered the lowest scale of 3.

"The scale is between 3 and 15 with 15 being the highest. 3 is deeply comatose," Dr O'Sullivan said.

Paul Sheehan, aged 21, The Glen, Cork and Ross Stapleton, aged 22, also of The Glen have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Christian Scully, aged 28, Togher, Cork on October 17, 2002.

Mr Scully was on a life support machine after being set upon by youths at Sober Lane in the city centre in the early hours of January 28, 2002, before he suffered a cardiac arrest nine months later and died on October 17, 2002.

Today Dr Michael O'Sullivan said, "There was extensive swelling of the soft tissue of the scalp."

"The scalp was extensively swollen and there was significant trauma to scalp or skull."

Three days later on January 31, 2002, Dr O'Sullivan said Mr Scully's anesthetic drugs were withdrawn to see what the results would be.

A scan showed that Mr Scully had "traumatic reading of the brain, he had a depressed level of consciousness", Dr O'Sullivan said.

Mr Scully had, in the neurosurgeon's opinion, a condition known as "diffuse axial injury".

"Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may never wake up again," the neurosurgeon told the jury.

Mr Scully had to have a feeding tube inserted, as he was unable to feed himself, the court heard.

After three months, Mr Scully began "opening his eyes spontaneously but he was not engaging with the environment", Dr O'Sullivan said.

At this stage the deceased was classed by the neurosurgeon as being in a "continuing vegetative state".

"It is a period of eye opening followed by sleep but with no speech, they do not obey commands and do not interact. They do not appreciate pain like we do." Dr O'Sullivan said.

Nine months later, Dr O'Sullivan told the jury that Mr Scully suffered a cardiac arrest. Resuscitation was attempted, the neurosurgeon said but failed.

In Dr O'Sullivan's opinion the deceased had suffered a "severe traumatic brain injury, suggestive of a diffused axial injury".

Under cross-examination by Mr David Goldberg defence counsel for Ross Stapleton, Dr O'Sullivan told the jury in the third day of the murder trial that a "coma is the gravest form of head injury".

Today Patrick Long of The Glen, Cork told the jury that at 2.30am on January 28, 2002, he was woken by Mr Stapleton and Mr Sheehen knocking on his front door.

Mr Long said that his mother had been washing Mr Stapleton's clothes since he had been thrown out of his parent's house.

Mr Long claims that Mr Stapleton asked for his clean clothes that he hadn't yet collected to change into.

Mr Stapleton changed out of the clothes he had been wearing and left them to be washed.

Later on the same day, Mr Long spoke with Mr Stapleton, "he said he had been in a fight the night before".

Ms Mary Ellen Ring prosecuting counsel asked the witness what did he remember about the clothes Mr Stapleton gave to him for his mother to wash. "The clothes were wet," Mr Long said.

Mr Long's mother, Mrs Anne Long told the jury that the next morning she went to work and failed to check the clothes in the washing machine.

But when she did check the washing machine, "the clothes had been taken".

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Butler.

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