herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Gun victim's severed foot never found

The trial of a 27-year-old accused of murdering a man in Co Wicklow three years ago has heard that the left foot of the deceased remains missing.

Michael Dickenson of Darragh Park, Wicklow town, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Steven O'Meara at Ballydonnell Wood, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, on or about August 6, 2009.

Mr O'Meara, a 26-year-old father-of-three from Rosehill in Wicklow town, was last seen on that date.

His body was found by gardai in a shallow grave five months later, on Christmas Eve, in an isolated wooded area at Ballydonnell, Red Cross.

The prosecution alleges that Dickenson drove Mr O'Meara to the remote Ballydonnell Woods, where he was shot by another man, who then helped the accused drag the body into the grave.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar said the cause of death was internal haemorrhage owing to gunshot wounds to the torso and leg.

He said the bones of the left leg were exposed and the left foot was missing.

The pathologist, who carried out a post mortem at St Columcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown on December 26, 2009, said he had visited the grave, where the deceased was found face down.

Dr Jabbar said the right foot was in situ and still on the body, but "the entire left foot was missing".

He said he examined dental records and fingerprints and was "confident" the deceased, whose body was decomposing, was Steven O'Meara.

He said he would "entertain the possibility" that he might not have been dead when he was buried.

Ballistics expert Detective Garda David O'Leary said there was evidence the bullets were fired from a .243 calibre rifle.

Patrick Marinan, defending, told the jury that the accused was making admissions under Section 22 of the Criminal Justice Act, and because of this 30-40 witnesses could be dispensed with.

He said the accused admits that crime scenes, exhibits and corpse were properly preserved.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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