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'violent attack' Nadine Lott suffered 'blunt force trauma to her head and chest', murder trial hears

Dr Linda Mulligan said the 30-year-old beauty therapist was the subject of a 'sustained and violent attack'

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Nadine Lott

Nadine Lott

Nadine Lott

Nadine Lott died after suffering "traumatic head, neck and chest injuries" and her brain was swollen following a "sustained and violent attack" in her Arklow home, the chief State pathologist has told her murder trial.

The jury also heard that the blunt-force injuries were caused by hands, fists or feet, and the use of a blunt weapon could not be ruled out.

In cross-examination, the pathologist also said she was "very sceptical" that Ms Lott would have been able to move around following her injuries.

The Central Criminal Court was also told there were 64 individual injuries observed all over Ms Lott's body.

Daniel Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old ex-partner at her apartment in Arklow, Co Wicklow, on December 17, 2019.

Opening the trial of Mr Murtagh, prosecution counsel John O'Kelly SC said Ms Lott suffered "severe blunt-force trauma" and stab injuries at the hands of her former partner "in a sustained attack" in her Arklow home.

The barrister said the court will hear evidence that the injuries were so serious that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent's Hospital.

An intensive care nurse at the hospital has told the jury that Ms Lott was "completely unrecognisable" and that she had never seen anybody so badly injured.

A paramedic who attended to the Arklow woman at her home told the jury that the call will "haunt" him for the rest of his career and was one of the most "horrendous scenes" he had ever walked into in his life.

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Nadine Lott and Daniel Murtagh

Nadine Lott and Daniel Murtagh

Nadine Lott and Daniel Murtagh

The garda who telephoned ambulance control informed them that Nadine had been "beaten to a pulp".

Giving evidence yesterday, Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan told Mr O'Kelly that she conducted a post-mortem examination on the deceased at Dublin City Mortuary on December 18.

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In her evidence, Dr Mulligan said the combination of injuries suggested a sustained assault involving both blunt- and sharp-force trauma.

She said the blunt-force injuries were consistent with injuries caused by hands, fists or feet and she could not rule out the use of a blunt weapon.

Sharp-edged objects, usually knives, cause stab wounds and incised wounds but they can be caused by other sharp objects such as glass fragments, she said.

The stab wound to Nadine was 5cm deep, which suggested it was caused by a knife or a knife-shaped object.

Under cross-examination, Dr Mulligan agreed with defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC that she found multiple sites of blunt-force trauma, in particular to the head, face and neck area.

Dr Mulligan also agreed with Mr Grehan that she was not saying asphyxia was the cause of death and this was not a "strangulation case".

She further agreed with the barrister that the hyoid bone is very fragile and can be easily broken.

The jaw bone requires more force to fracture, she said, and is a common injury in people who are assaulted.

The court heard during the cross-examination that the blunt-force trauma to the head meant that the brain was moving back and forwards within the skull cavity, which can cause bleeding.

At the outset of the trial, Mr Grehan said that his client accepted he had unlawfully killed Ms Lott and he "alone inflicted the injuries she suffered".

The issue to be decided by the jury, Mr Grehan said, will be his intent and in the "broader sense, his mental state at the time".

The trial continues today.

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