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State pathologist describes dead man's injuries in Dublin murder trial

Forensic teams at the scene of the Shay O'Byrne murder
Forensic teams at the scene of the Shay O'Byrne murder

Bullets penetrated the chest, lungs, heart, ribs and skull of a man who died after being shot five times, state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the Central Criminal Court today.

Prof Cassidy was giving evidence at the trial of 31-year-old Gary Flynn of Rossfield Drive in Tallaght. Mr Flynn has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Seamus 'Shay' O'Byrne at Tymon Park North in Tallaght on March 13, 2009.

She told prosecuting counsel Alex Owens SC that she found five bullet holes: one in the head, two in the back, one in the back of the right shoulder and another in the left thigh, when she examined the body of Mr O'Byrne the day after the shooting.

She said the cause of death was the bullet wounds to the torso, which had caused extensive bleeding and damaged the lungs and heart. She said the bullet wound to the head was a contributing factor and had caused bruising to the surface of the brain. The bullet that hit his hip caused only a flesh wound.

Professor Cassidy agreed with Mr Owens that it is possible that the bullet that hit Mr O'Byrne's hip was the same bullet that injured his partner Sharon Rattigan. Ms Rattigan had earlier told the court that she was shot when she tried to wrestle the gun from the shooter.

Professor Cassidy said that the bullet wounds to the head and one of the wounds in the back could have occurred while he was upright and that the pattern suggested that one or both of the parties were moving. Another wound to the back and the wound to the hip suggested he was falling forward or even on the ground when those bullets hit.

She said she did not have enough information to say whether all the bullets had come from the same gun.

The court also heard that gardai took forensic evidence in the aftermath of the shooting. Sergeant Ciaran Loughrey, who was a garda in Tallaght in 2009, said he took swabs from Mr Flynn's face and hands using a firearms residue kit.

Garda Declan Claffey of Tallaght Garda Station told the judge and jury of nine men and three women that he took Mr Flynn's fingerprints.

The trial continues before the jury of nine men and three women and Justice Patrick McCarthy on Monday.

Eoin Reynolds