Limerick murder trial hears paramedic saw one injury to deceased’s chest when she arrived at scene

Alison O'Riordan


Alison O'Riordan

Desmond Coyle has pleaded not guilty to murdering Calo Carpaci at Roches Row in the city on May 24, 2017

Desmond Coyle has pleaded not guilty to murdering Calo Carpaci at Roches Row in the city on May 24, 2017

THE trial of a 60-year-old Limerick man accused of murdering a Romanian national has heard that a paramedic saw one injury to the deceased's chest when she arrived at the scene. 

A statement from an attending paramedic was read into evidence by prosecution counsel in the Limerick man’s murder trial at the Central Criminal Court on Thursday.

Desmond Coyle, with an address at Davis Street in Limerick, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Calo Carpaci, 58, at Roches Row in the city on May 24, 2017.

Paramedic Mary O’Brien said she was in the ambulance when a call was dispatched from the control centre reporting a stabbing at Roches Row at 1.36pm on May 24. The ambulance arrived at the scene at 1.40pm and parked outside a funeral home on Roches Road. Ms O’Brien said she grabbed her equipment and made her way to the patient.

A garda was already at the scene doing compressions on the patient’s chest as he lay unresponsive on the pavement, said Ms O’Brien. The man’s clothing was cut and a defibrillator pad was applied to his chest.

“I could see one injury to his chest, which was slightly left of centre,” she said. 

Ms O’Brien said she checked the patient for a pulse but there was none so they moved him onto a stretcher and into the back of the ambulance. There were no other visible injuries when a head-to-toe examination was carried out on him, she noted.

Prosecution counsel Anthony Sammon SC read out a second statement by Marie O’Donnell, a clerk from An Post in Limerick city. Ms O’Donnell said Mr Coyle was one of her regular customers and he came into the post office at 9am on May 24 to collect his disability benefit.

“He was his usual quiet and polite self and I never had any issues with him,” she said.

Fergus Maher's statement was also read into evidence and he said a general conversation took place between him and Mr Coyle for five or ten minutes sometime before 1pm on May 24.

“I think he may have had a few drinks on him,” said Mr Maher.

Earlier in his opening address, prosecuting counsel Mr Sammon said a very significant part of the case will be based on CCTV footage capturing the movements of people around Limerick city. 

CCTV footage, the court heard, will show Mr Coyle leaving his flat at Davis Street on May 24 and going about his business. 

Mr Sammon said this footage will also show the route taken by the accused from when he leaves his home and goes to Roches Row.

“He doesn’t take the most direct route he could have taken from Davis Street to get to Roches Row and that is a matter of importance,” said counsel. 

The court heard that CCTV footage will also show that Mr Coyle “very briefly” entered Mr Carpaci's residence at Roches Row.

The barrister said the accused’s life centered very much on alcohol and public houses at the time.

“You will come to the view that Mr Coyle was under the influence of alcohol on the occasion,” said Mr Sammon, adding that only in very rare situations can the degree of alcohol intoxication deprive a person of forming a conscious intent. 

Counsel told the jury they will receive enough evidence in this case to show that Mr Coyle’s situation at the time of the killing was not “excusatory”.

There will also be evidence, Mr Sammon said, concerning Mr Coyle’s arrest and detention as well as interviews he gave gardai.

Mark Nicholas SC, defending Mr Coyle, made a series of admissions or concessions this afternoon under section 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984. Mr Nicholas told the jury that his client accepts the lawfulness of his arrest and detention which took place on May 24 as well as the preservation of the scene.

A doctor came to the garda station and noted Mr Coyle was intoxicated and unfit for questioning, said Mr Nicholas, adding that there was no need to bring a doctor to court to establish this.

The trial continues this Friday before Mr Justice Michael White and a jury of seven men and five women. It is expected to last two weeks.