herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Young mother left dying for four hours in a derelict building after being beaten

Amy McCarthy was beaten and strangled and left for dead
Amy McCarthy was beaten and strangled and left for dead

A young mother-of-one was left dying on the floor of a derelict building for four hours after she was beaten and strangled, a court has heard.

The revelation came as a Central Criminal Court murder trial heard that Amy McCarthy (22) is estimated to have survived for around four hours after she suffered blunt force trauma injuries from multiple blows and had indications - including apparent hand grip marks on her neck - that she was manually strangled.

The young woman had fallen into a coma before her death.

Adam O'Keeffe (27) has denied the murder of his girlfriend, Ms McCarthy, who gave birth to their son in 2016.

Mr O'Keeffe, on the opening day of the trial before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six women and five men, denied the murder of Ms McCarthy but admitted her manslaughter.

The trial heard that Mr O'Keeffe was very jealous and, on the day of Ms McCarthy's death, had become embroiled in a row with her in which he seemed to believe that she had cheated on him.

The trial was told their relationship was volatile and both had alcohol dependency issues.

Mr O'Keeffe is charged with the murder of Ms McCarthy between April 29/30, 2017, on the second floor of a derelict office complex at Sheares Street in Cork city centre.

A post-mortem examination by assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster found that Ms McCarthy died from multiple injuries, including blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxia caused by manual strangulation. She had bruises and abrasions to both eyes, her face, nose, neck and jaw.

Parallel abrasions were found on her neck, consistent with strangulation.

Ms McCarthy also suffered brain swelling and a subdural haemorrhage.

Blood tests revealed a very high concentration of alcohol in her system - 253mg in her blood and 400mg in her urine.

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Dr Bolster consulted with neuro-pathologist Dr Niamh Bermingham over the disparity in the alcohol readings in the blood and urine and early neuronal brain changes.

Dr Bermingham said this was likely the result of Ms McCarthy being alive after the trauma incident and her metabolism breaking down the alcohol. Normally alcohol in the blood and urine is to a ratio of 1:1.3.

She indicated the process of Ms McCarthy being alive and her body continuing to metabolise the alcohol could be anywhere between four and eight hours.

Dr Bolster said she believed Ms McCarthy was alive for around four hours after she suffered the strangulation and blunt force trauma injuries, which were consistent with injuries that can be inflicted by a hand or fist.

In opening the case, Sean Gillane SC, for the State, said Ms McCarthy had been involved in a relationship with Mr O'Keeffe for about three to four years before her death.

Mr Gillane said that Mr O'Keeffe, who had an address at St Vincent's Hostel on Anglesea Terrace in Cork city, had "expressed jealousy on a regular basis".

He said it was the State's case that, on April 29, 2017, Mr O'Keeffe met Ms McCarthy in Cork city but later became involved in a dispute with her.

"A heated argument developed between Adam O'Keeffe and Amy McCarthy," he said.

"It seemed to be based on a belief or assertion by Mr O'Keeffe that Amy McCarthy had cheated on him."

Around 6.30am on April 30, the defendant and two other men sought medical attention at Mercy University Hospital.

Paramedics immediately went to Sheares Street and found the body of Ms McCarthy, originally from Greenmount in Cork city centre, lying on her back on the second floor.

Ms McCarthy was from a close and loving family.

She had made considerable efforts to overcome her alcohol dependency following the birth of her son.

The trial continues.

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