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Blood on shoe of Irish man accused of murder matches deceased's profile

CourtsBy Sunday World
Liam Power (wearing white hoodie)
Liam Power (wearing white hoodie)

Blood present on the runner of an Irish man accused of murdering a Latvian national matched the DNA profile of the deceased, a jury has heard.

Liam Power (52) of no fixed abode is charged with murdering Gints Intembergs (41) at Graigowen, Tullow, Co Carlow between the 15th and 16th of September, 2014.

When arraigned at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Power pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. This plea was not accepted by the State and a jury was sworn in to try him and his co-accused. Mr Power also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Aigar Sildars, causing him harm at the same address and on the same dates.

Dzintars Sackalausks (33) of Barrowvale, Graiguecullen, Co Carlow is also charged with murdering Gints Intembergs at the same address and on the same dates. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Mr Sackalausks also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Aigar Sildars, causing him harm at the same address and on the same dates.

Today, Counsel for the State, Mr Paul Greene SC, called Dr Brian Gibson from Forensic Science Ireland to give evidence.

Dr Gibson said gardai gave him items of clothing belonging to the two accused men in September 2014.

“I was asked to search for blood patterns and then obtain DNA profiles from the blood patterns I found on the clothes,” he said. 

The court heard Dr Gibson received a tube of the deceased’s blood, a pair of white Adidas runners belonging to Mr Power and a DNA kit from Aigar Sildars.

He also received a pair of black Nike runners, tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt belonging to Mr Sackalausks who is from Latvia. 

Dr Gibson told Mr Greene that when he examined Mr Power’s runners for blood-stains he found “contact and splatter blood-stains on the inner aspect of the left runner.”

The court heard that the DNA profile from three of these blood-stains matched the DNA profile of the deceased.

The probability of Mr Intembergs DNA matching someone else was considerably less than one in a thousand million.

Dr Gibson said that the three blood patterns on the runner could be created by kicking actions. 

The second pair of runners examined by Dr Gibson for the presence of blood-stains belonged to Mr Sackalausks.

“There was just a small amount of blood-staining present on the runners. The DNA profile matched the profile of Aigar Sildars,” he said. 

There was no blood-staining on the items of clothing. 

Dr Gibson agreed with Mr Patrick Gageby SC, defending Mr Sackalausks, that he could not discern any pattern of contact blood-staining on his client’s runners like he found on Mr Power's runners.

The witness also agreed that the area of blood-staining on Mr Sackalausks runners was “very small” and just measured “millimetres.”

The prosecution called Annette Ford, a scientist from Forensic Science Ireland, to give evidence.

Ms Ford’s task was to analyse patterns between a pattern of bruises on the deceased’s body and the accused’s footwear, the court heard. 

“I examined the footwear of the two suspects to see if any impressions were made,” she said. 

The court heard there were four different impressions “of varying detail” on the deceased’s body.

Ms Ford said Mr Power was wearing a pair of white Adidas runners on the night which had “sole patterns of horizontal bars running along the centre with some shorter bars offset.”

She also told the court that there was a “pattern of blocks of various shapes” on Mr Sackalausks footwear and these made “quite a distinct impression."

The court heard that none of the impressions on the deceased’s body matched the pattern on Mr Sackalausks runners.

“Any identifiable patterns I saw matched the pattern of Mr Power’s runners,” she said. 

“There is moderately strong support that the impressions on the deceased’s body were made by the footwear of Mr Power. Maybe Mr Sackalausks didn’t kick Mr Intembergs or there was no observable impressions made if he did kick him,” she said. 

The prosecution then called Detective Garda Donal Lawlor from Carlow Garda Station, to give evidence.

Det Gda Lawlor told the court that he went to Shaw Park in Carlow on the afternoon of September 16 as he was aware Mr Power was suspected of being the Irishman involved in the incident. 

The court heard Mr Power was in the sitting room of the house and there was “a strong smell of drink off him.”

“He said to me:  ‘I was in Tullow last night, things got out of control. I kicked the head off him, look at my runners, shit happens and I lost the head, what can I do, that is all I can say’,” said the witness. 

Gardai took possession of a pair of white runners and white socks belonging to Mr Power.

Mr Power told gardai that he used one of his white socks to wash blood-stains from his runner before throwing it out a side window of the house.

This single white sock was then retrieved from on top of a pile of rubbish directly under this window.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and a jury of five men and seven women.

Alison O'Riordan