Dublin man shot by his nephew died of gunshot wounds to his back

Edward O'Connor
Edward O'Connor
David Cully
David Cully

A father-of-three shot dead by his nephew died of two gun-shot wounds to his back, a murder trial has heard.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis was giving evidence today in the trial of Dublin father-of-one David Cully, who has admitted killing Edward O’Connor.

The 24-year-old claimed he shot him ‘in the heat of the moment’ after he commented about somebody who had made an allegation of sexual abuse against him (the deceased). The allegation was investigated, but the DPP had decided not to prosecute.

Cully of Kilshane Road, Finglas West has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 41-year-old, but guilty to his manslaughter, at Ballycoolin Road, Finglas West on December 15th, 2013.

Dr Curtis told the Central Criminal Court that he conducted a post-mortem exam on the body of Mr O’Connor the day after the killing. The jurors were given photographs from the exam, showing the position of the wounds.

The pathologist said the cause of his death was two gun-shot wounds to the back, which caused injuries to the aorta, oesophagus, lung, adrenal gland and pancreas.

He explained that both wounds were to the lower thoracic region of his back.

He said that one bullet had entered the back of the chest between the 10th and 11th ribs to the left of the spine.

It travelled through the aorta, oesophagus and upper lobe of the right lung before exiting the front of the chest cavity between the second and third rib. He said the bullet was recovered in muscle in the front of the upper chest wall.

He said the right side of the chest cavity contained two litres of blood, which he described as a massive collection. He explained that the lung had collapsed because of this.

“The injury to the aorta was a catastrophic injury, not compatible with life,” he added.

He said that while this gun-shot wound was incompatible with life, the other wound was also very serious and life-threatening.

“The bullet entered the back of the body, fracturing the 11th rib close to the spine,” he said, later adding that this had split the bullet in two.

He explained that it wounded the left adrenal gland, pancreas and stomach before resting in the muscle at the front of the abdomen. He also found 150 milliletres of blood in the abdominal cavity.

Dr Curtis concluded that the wound to the thoracic aorta would have resulted in rapid, if not instant, death.

The jury earlier heard from one of Mr O’Connor’s brothers, who said that Cully had threatened the deceased with a gun a week before the shooting.

Patrick O’Connor testified that the deceased rang him from a pub on Sunday, December 8th, 2013.

“He said David Cully was walking around in the pub after him with a gun,” he said. “I said: ‘Don’t be worrying. I’ll ring him now and get him over to my house and see what’s going on’.”

He said that Cully came to his house and that he asked his nephew about what had happened.

“He said he was going to shoot him and I said: ‘You’d better not’,” said Mr O’Connor. “Then he said: ‘I’m only messing’.”

Asked how his brother seemed when he had rung him, he replied that he had felt frightened and worried.

Under cross examination by the defence, he denied that his account of that evening was not the truth.

The trial has now adjourned until Monday, when it will resume before Mr Justice Carroll Moran and a jury of seven women and five men.