Farmer who ran over aunt (76) with teleporter found guilty of manslaughter

Michael Scott has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Chrissie Treacy.

Michael Scott. Photo: Collins Courts© Collins Dublin

Chrissie Treacy (76)


Farmer Michael Scott has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his elderly aunt Chrissie Treacy by driving over her with a teleporter.

Mr Scott (58) of Gortanumera, Portumna, Co Galway had pleaded not guilty to murdering the 76-year-old woman outside her home in Derryhiney, Portumna, Co Galway on April 27, 2018.

But after deliberating for almost 15 hours over four days, the jury of six men and six women reached their verdict of manslaughter shortly after 12pm.

Chrissie Treacy (76)

In his closing speech, Dean Kelly SC for the Prosecution told the jury Mr Scott had deliberately reversed over Ms Treacy in an act of murder “out of a sense of entitlement and for revenge.”

However, Scott’s defence centred on his claim that his aunt’s death was a tragic accident.

He told gardaí he was reversing the teleporter across the yard when he felt a "thump" and thought he may have hit a trailer.

He said he moved the machine forward to get it on level ground where it would not roll before getting down and finding Ms Treacy on the ground.

Scott told gardaí in interviews that when he found his 76-year-old aunt lying on the ground after he had run over her in his agricultural teleporter, he did not see any injuries on her body and thought she was going to be okay when he heard her breathing..

Following his arrest on suspicion of murder, Scott said he didn't know he could call 999 for an ambulance, did not know how to take a pulse, and he didn't think his aunt would die.

And he said he didn't help her up off the ground because he needed someone with him.

In garda interviews, Scott told how after knocking his aunt down in her farm yard, he got down off the JCB and on finding her on the ground said: “Are you all right Chrissie? Oh God! What misfortune."

He claimed she was "breathing heavy" but wasn't able to talk. Asked if she could recognise him, Mr Scott replied: "I don't know. Shocking, your only aunt.”

He said he didn't notice any injuries and that he had not tried first aid because: "I wouldn't know anything about that."

However, one of the first gardaí on the scene told of immediately witnessing catastrophic injuries with the flesh "ripped completely from her left forearm and strewn onto the yard in front of her hand."

While Chief State Pathologist, Linda Mulligan said Ms Treacy’s injuries would have resulted in ‘almost instantaneous death.’

He called his friend Francis Hardiman because he didn't know who else to call and didn't know the number of any doctors.

Scott denied that he murdered his aunt and said he did not want her to die.

Meanwhile an independent engineer, Dr Mark Jordan, called by the Defence, told the trial that he disagreed with a garda report suggesting that the 76-year-old Ms Treacy should have been visible as Mr Scott reversed across his yard.

Dr Jordan disagreed with a number of points made in reports drawn up by a garda collision investigator and an engineer who previously gave evidence for the prosecution.

Dr Jordan said that a suggestion that Ms Treacy was driven over twice appears to be "particularly unsupported".

He said that from early on, gardaí, had decided that the teleporter went over Ms Treacy twice, but Dr Jordan found there was only one clear imprint over Ms Treacy's trousers. He said that the other marks are "very difficult to interpret" but may have been left when Ms Treacy was in the upright position.

However the trial had previously heard that John Hayes, an engineer called by the prosecution, said a "flailing" injury to Ms Treacy's left arm was "not consistent with a vehicle reversing over the deceased, coming to a stop and moving forward."

He said the injury was consistent with "a far more aggressive action and could be consistent with the rotation of the wheel while on the limb." He explained that by "aggressive" he was not commenting on the driver's intent but on the "high torque" of the vehicle which allowed it to change from reverse to forward "very quickly".

More to follow...

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