Homeless man died in narrow rubbish chute
A HOMELESS man trapped head first in an apartment rubbish chute died from the position he was stuck in and the lack of oxygen in the narrow metal pipe.
The revelation came as David O'Loughlin (27) denies the murder of Liam Manley (58) in Cork two years ago.
The State has claimed O'Loughlin punched the homeless man and then shoved him into the rubbish chute from the upper floor of an apartment complex.
Mr Manley's body was found partially covered in rubbish and a blood-like substance at the bottom of the apartment refuse chute two years ago.
The body, in an advanced state of decomposition, was found by gardai after they were alerted by a shocked maintenance man who had been working to clear the blocked rubbish chute.
O'Loughlin, who is originally from Clare, has an address at Garden City Apartments-North Gate House, Cork, and denies the murder of Mr Manley on May 12, 2013.
"The cause of death was mechanical asphyxia in association with positional asphyxia and hypoxia or the lack of oxygen from being trapped in a waste chute," Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the Central Criminal Court murder trial.
Mr Manley was stuck head first in the 450mm to 470mm wide metal chute with a rubbish bag ahead of him.
Dr Bolster said injuries to Mr Manley's lips, mouth and face could not have been inflicted from him coming in contact with the rubbish in the chute.
She said bruises and abrasions to Mr Manley's hands could be offensive or defensive in nature but she believed they were most likely defensive.
Dr Bolster said she found traces of blood in the pipe and near the entrance to the chute on an upper floor of the apartment complex.
She confirmed that the body was in an advanced state of decomposition when found.
"This was quite advanced for that period of time. But that is because of where it was," she said.
Dr Bolster said the heat and bacteria levels within the metal chute would have substantially increased decomposition.
Mr Manley was also found with three broken ribs.
However, she said the injuries would not have been fatal and the damage to Mr Manley's face did not result in any significant head or brain injury.
Dr Bolster said Mr Manley died from having his chest constricted while trapped in the rubbish pipe.
His death also occurred because his breathing was impacted by being stuck upside down and because oxygen levels were low in the chute.
The State has argued that the defendant told another person in the apartment that: "The man was down the drain."
In garda interviews, O'Loughlin said he was "hammered" that weekend from taking drink and drugs.
"I want to answer these questions but I was fairly hammered. I am trying to put the pictures and puzzles together," he said.
The trial continues.