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Court hears victim was stabbed in the shoulder and four times in the abdomen

James Connors
James Connors

A witness described seeing a man being hit with a baton in the lead-up to a stabbing that left one man dead, a murder trial heard today.

James Connors (29), of Rosemount, Drinagh, Co Wexford, has pleaded not  guilty to the murder of 27-year-old James Ryan at Hollyville Heights in Wexford Town on January 25, 2012.

At the Central Criminal Court today Ms Catriona Purdy, a former neighbour of Mr Ryan, said she awoke shortly after midnight on the 25th when she heard a loud bang. She told prosecuting counsel Gerard Clarke SC that she looked out the window and saw two men.

"I saw a tall, well built guy standing there," she said. "He was waving a baton."

Speaking to defence counsel Michael Delaney SC she agreed that a statement she gave to gardai the day after the incident was accurate. In that statement she said: "The bigger of the two was hitting the smaller man with a baton."

Neighbours John Purdy and Tina Grogan, who were also woken by a loud bang, told the jury they saw two men outside fighting. Speaking to Mr Clarke they said the fight moved up a ramp to an area where they could not see and within about one minute the taller of the two men returned. Ms Purdy said that he was holding his side and limping.

The court also heard from Dr Karl Schmidt, a consultant surgeon at Wexford General Hospital. Dr Schmidt operated on James Ryan in the early hours of January 25 but was unable to save his life. He told the court he saw five stab wounds, one to the shoulder and four to the abdomen.

He said that Mr Ryan had lost a lot of blood and his blood pressure was dangerously low. His condition was so poor that he was sent immediately to the operating theatre.

He drained 1.8 litres of blood from Mr Ryan's chest and more than two litres from his abdomen. Dr Schmidt disagreed with Mr Delaney that three of the wounds were "superficial". He said three of the wounds went only as deep as the muscle but said he did not consider that to be superficial.

The trial continues in front of Justice Margaret Heneghan.