A bachelor died from two stab wounds to the neck while he was drunk in his own home, a barrister told a murder trial this afternoon (Monday).
Paul Murray SC opened the trial of 30-year-old Keith Brady of Cartron Estate, Sligo who pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Martin Kivlehan (59) at New Apartments, Holborn St, Sligo on August 2/3 2015. The plea was not accepted and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Mr Murray told the jury that the deceased was a bachelor and people would often visit his house for a drink. On the Sunday night of August 2 and the following Bank Holiday Monday Keith Brady and his sister Janice Brady were in Mr Kivlehan's house and while they were there Mr Kivlehan died.
His body was found the next day and a pathologist's report showed that he had two stab wounds on either side of his neck. The pathologist's report, Mr Murray said, would show that one of the wounds went to a depth of 7.8cm while the other was 9cm deep. Death was not immediate but would have been rapid, brought on by blood haemorrhage.
Counsel added that a toxicology report would show that the deceased had high levels of alcohol in his system and that there will be evidence of "gross intoxication" on his part.
Mr Murray further told the jury that the accused has offered a plea of guilty to manslaughter which was not accepted by the State. Therefore the jury must decide whether Mr Kivlehan's death amounted to murder or manslaughter. He explained that in order for them to bring a verdict of murder the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill or cause serious injury to Mr Kivlehan.
Under Irish law, he explained, an accused person is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of their actions. He then asked, "What are the natural and probable consequences of stabbing a person, not once, but twice, on either side of the neck?"
The jury then heard from Detective Garda Brian Cleary who developed maps of the area in Sligo where Mr Kivlehan lived.
Detective Garda Eoin Conway told Mr Murray that he took photos of the house where Mr Kivlehan's body was found. He said the apartment was in a "general state of untidiness."
He identified an armchair which had blood staining and was surrounded by "rubbish" and beer cans. A duvet visible in one of the photos had been covering Mr Kivlehan's body.
The trial will continue tomorrow in front of Justice Paul McDermott and a jury of five men and seven women.