Victim 'drowned while incapacitated with a head injury from violent assault'
A jury has heard that the deceased in a murder case drowned in the Shannon while incapacitated with a head injury from a violent assault.
State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy was giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court in the trial of two men charged with murdering the 23-year-old man.
Leszek Sychulec (34) of Drinan, Ballymahon, Co Longford and Andrzej Gruchacz (35) with an address in Warsaw, Poland are charged with murdering Patryk Krupa at Bogganfin, Athlone, CoRoscommon on June 20th, 2014.
Each man has pleaded not guilty to the charge. Both also deny a second charge each of falsely imprisoning Mr Krupa in Athlone on the same date.
Prof Cassidy testified that she carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr Krupa’s body, which had been discovered floating in the Shannon at Athlone.
She said there was severe blunt force injury to Mr Krupa’s head, that his face and eyelids were swollen and there were splits under both eyes. His nose was flattened, swollen and fractured, she added.
Mr Krupa’s cheeks were grazed and the injury on one of them had a pattered appearance comprising small squares. She found a similar pattern on his lower trunk.
One of the bruises on his right arm had the appearance of a grip mark.
She found extensive bruising of the scalp and under the face, and there was haemorrhaging into the muscles over the ears. There was a film of blood over the brain, which was swollen. There were haemorrhages at the base of the brain, she said.
The pathologist found blood-tinged froth in Mr Krupa’s airways, along with debris and bacteria from the river, which she said was typical of death due to drowning. His lungs were over-inflated and two to three times their normal weight.
“There was a lot of water logging,” she explained.
There was no alcohol or drugs in Mr Krupa’s system and she concluded that the healthy 23-year-old had been the victim of a violent assault with extensive injury to his head.
“The injury on his cheek was suggestive of the pattern on the sole or heel of footwear,” she said.
Other bruises could have been due to punching or stamping, she added.
“The brain trauma was sufficient to cause concussion or unconsciousness,” she said, explaining that this would have rendered him unable to resist being pulled into the water.
“It’s likely he was not conscious at this time,” she said, confirming that he was alive going into the water.
“Death was due to drowning while incapacitated with a head injury,” she concluded.
Under cross examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending Mr Sychulec, she said that, had he not ended up in the river, Mr Krupa could possibly have survived.
It’s the State’s case that the two accused took Mr Krupa from the centre of Athlone to Bogganfin that evening, and that they gave him ‘an absolutely savage beating’ before putting him into the river.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of four women and eight men.