A woman wearing a dressing gown and slippers was seen using a knife to bang on the door of a house where a 52-year-old man was later found dead covered in blood.
Two women out walking a dog on Bandon Road, Cork, after 9.30pm on September 4, 2019, described this woman’s actions to the judge and jury at a murder trial.
Witness Carmel O’Herlihy said: “We came across a lady banging on the door of a white house with a knife – like a steak knife. Her hair was tied up. She was wearing a dressing gown and slippers… We looked back and she was crossing back across the road. I think she was chatting to herself or giving out to herself. She was walking pretty quickly.”
Eyewitness Marie Hennessy gave similar evidence, saying she recalled that the woman had no shoes on her feet.
Helen Jones, 54, and Keith O’Hara, 43, deny the murder of Paul Jones – Ms Jones’ brother - on September 4, 2019, at 108 Bandon Road, Cork. They are on trial before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Taxi driver, Pat Moynihan picked up the two accused at 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, and brought them to Bandon Road at around 9.30pm on the night of September 4, 2019. He knew Helen Jones to salute, knew the deceased and knew their late father, who was described by defence senior counsel, Tom Creed, as a big, hard-working mason, known as “The Horse”.
Mr Moynihan said Helen Jones got into the car with a man she introduced as Keith and that he was staggering and drunk. The taxi driver was concerned this man might get sick in the car. The man later asked him to stop on the journey, and the jury was told that Keith O’Hara bought himself €20 worth of hash.
Mr Moynihan said Helen Jones got out of the taxi on Bandon Road. “She would have been shouting and banging at the door… I said to Keith, ‘she is making a bit of a racket, like.’ She was calling Paul by name. It would have been noisy enough. He (Keith) told me, ‘can you do a U-turn and go around by the house.’
“I parked right outside the house. So I could see Paul (Jones) facing me. He was wearing nothing only his boxer shorts. Keith is in the passenger seat with me. I think Helen is gone into the house.” He said Keith got out of the car later.
Mr Moynihan said he had been paid €20 at the start of the journey to take them from Cahergal Avenue to Bandon Road and back to Cahergal Avenue.
Brendan Grehan SC for Helen Jones asked the taxi driver what he heard. He replied: “Only that they were yapping, that’s all. They were kind of yelling. At the start I thought it was going to be a bit of wrestling.
“What caused you to ring?” Mr Grehan asked. Mr Moynihan replied: “I thought it would blow up.” Tom Creed SC for O’Hara said to the taxi driver that when he heard Helen at the door on Bandon Road he must have been thinking, “What have I got myself into? God knows what’s going to happen here.”
Mr Moynihan replied: “Exactly.” He said he did leave and heard Keith say: “Go on.”
Chief state pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan examined the body of the deceased on September 8, 2019, and found that he was a man weighing 19 stone and measuring five feet nine inches.
The pathologist described in detail a chop wound to the head which fractured his skull which may have been caused by a machete or like implement, and also described over 20 stab wounds to the chest, stomach and upper back.
“It is my view that death in this case was due to chop wounds to the head and multiple stab wounds to the trunk and right arm with no contributing factors. The severity of the traumatic injuries was enough to cause death,” Dr Mulligan said.
Cross-examining on behalf of Helen Jones, senior counsel Brendan Grehan said of the chop injury to the deceased’s head: “It would be consistent with being struck from the front – it cleaved into the skull causing a fracture to the skull causing a bleed injury.”
At one stage when Detective Garda Aoife Hayes was showing a machete, which was recovered from a garden at MacCurtain Villas, near Bandon Road, Mr Grehan asked the pathologist to hold the machete over the detective’s head to demonstrate the positions of the assailant and deceased at the time of this blow. The pathologist agreed that this head wound to Paul Jones could have been fatal on its own.
Tom Creed, senior counsel for Keith O’Hara, asked Dr Mulligan: “What would the effect of the 25 wounds – absent the chop wound – be?” The pathologist said that the other injuries, which were between 2cms and 12 cms deep, caused lung collapse, there were two wounds to the chest, four to the abdomen and blood loss from the liver and that “these wounds would have been fatal as well”.
The pathologist said: “Death probably occurred 30 minutes to an hour within the time of receiving the injuries.” In her direct evidence the pathologist said four of the stab wounds penetrated the right cavity causing the right lung to collapse, four wounds penetrated the abdominal cavity and kidney and there were also stab wounds to the liver.
She said he had approximately three times the quantity of alcohol in his system as would be allowed for driving. The pathologist said that she had been told that the deceased had been a daily drinker and that in such a case this level of alcohol might not have the same effect as it would on someone who does not drink frequently.
Dr Mulligan said the deceased who lived alone and was unemployed was on medication for numerous conditions including diabetes, arthritis, blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia and that he was a smoker.
Paul Jones had numerous tattoos including one of hands joined with a rosary beads and the words, “In Memory of Mam and Dad”.