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Saturday 3 December 2016

Man found dead in armchair had serious burns to his leg, court told

Thomas 'Toddy' Dooley
Thomas 'Toddy' Dooley

A 64-year-old man was found dead with serious burns to his leg after an attempt was made to set fire to the armchair he was sitting on, a court heard.

The Central Criminal Court heard previously that the deceased, Thomas 'Toddy' Dooley, was found in the living room of his home in Offaly on February 16, 2014.

He had died from injuries to his upper body and head.

Matthew Cummins (22) of Churchview Heights, Edenderry, Co Offaly; Sean Davy (21) of Clonmullen Drive, Edenderry, Co Offaly; and James Davy (25) of Thornhill Meadows, Celbridge, Co Kildare are charged with murdering Thomas Dooley at Sister Senan Court in Edenderry, Co Offaly on February 12, 2014.

The three men have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Yesterday, Detective Garda Seamus O'Donnell, from the Ballistics Section of the Garda Technical Bureau, was called to give evidence.

The jury heard he found the body of the deceased, which was covered with a cushion, in a sitting position in an armchair.

The armchair was burned in three locations and there were seven footwear marks on the floor in this area.

Mr Dooley had a "severe head injury" and a number of other injuries. A search of the scene was carried out but no implement was found.

On the afternoon of February 17, the deceased's body was brought to Tullamore Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

The court heard "four small fragments of wood" were found on the deceased's head and "a small wood splinter" was taken from his jumper.

The bottom left leg of Mr Dooley's nylon tracksuit bottoms were burnt and the right leg was "badly burned".

"From the fire damage it is my opinion that somebody potentially lit a fire at the armchair," said Det Gda O'Donnell.

The prosecution then called John O'Donnell, who was working as a barman in Mangan's pub in Edenderry on February 11, 2014, to give evidence.

Mr O'Donnell told the court that Sean Davy and James Davy were having a drink in the pub that evening and April Murray joined them later in the night.

The witness said that before James Davy left the pub, a baseball bat slipped out from under the jacket he was carrying.

Blood

"It didn't hit the floor as he caught it before then. He wrapped the bat into the jacket again. I said what the f**k are you doing with that. He didn't answer and left the pub," said Mr O'Donnell.

Arvis Busmins who was working a late shift in a petrol station in Edenderry on February 11 told the court that at 5am on the morning of February 12, he saw two males standing at the hatch of the petrol station and a third male was on a phone.

One of the males at the hatch had a brown wooden baseball bat in his hand.

They purchased a soft drink and the man with the baseball bat proceeded to shake Mr Busmins hand through the hatch.

The witness then agreed with counsel that he saw blood on this man's "right thumbnail."

The trial continues.

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