A 52-year-old Cork man was found dead and covered in blood lying in his underwear behind the front door of his home in the city back in September 2019.
This scene was described by a number of witnesses at the trial of Helen Jones and Keith O’Hara who deny the murder of Paul Jones on September 4, 2019 at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.
Paramedic Vivian Forde responded to a call at 11.30am on Saturday morning, September 7, to go to 108 Bandon Road. The call was logged as, “life status questionable”, alerting her to the fact that the person in the house in question might be dead.
Ms Forde arrived at the location to meet three people outside and to find a man lying in the hallway of the house, blocking access via the front door. The ambulance crew immediately alerted gardaí and also called the fire brigade in order to secure access to the house.
Ms Forde testified:
“We moved around to the door. I put my hand in. The body was cold. The scene was covered in blood.”
Fire service personnel gained access to the house by climbing over a wall at the rear of the house and getting in through a window. This facilitated paramedics and gardaí in getting into the house. Once inside, Ms Forde saw the body of a large man on the floor. His feet were facing towards the front door, his head was by the sitting room door. “He was kind of lying on his right side. It was difficult to see and get at him. There was blood on the floor — and dry blood. My job was to confirm whether he was dead or not. And he was.
“All he was wearing was underwear – I think they were Y-fronts. His arms and legs were bent up. He was covered in blood. Deep rigor mortis had set it. He was confirmed dead. There was no pulse.”
Garda Anita O’Rourke arrived moments later and met paramedics at the scene. The area was designated a crime scene.
Defence senior counsel Brendan Grehan and Tom Creed, for Jones and O’Hara respectively, said there was no issue about the preservation of the crime scene. Siobhán Lankford SC for the state told the jury this defence concession had spared them the necessity of hearing 20 to 25 witnesses.
Later when Detective Garda Maurice O’Connor was presenting a compilation of CCTV harvested in various parts of Cork city, including Bandon Road, on September 4, 2019, the defence conceded that this evidence was harvested correctly and no proofs were necessary on the sources of the numerous video clips — many of them of streets, taken from outside business premises. Ms Lankford said a further 20 to 25 witnesses would not have to give evidence on the basis of those further defence concessions.
Among the first pieces of CCTV showed the deceased man, Paul Jones, that Wednesday morning going to Broderick’s pharmacy on Bandon Road to collect his prescription at 10.57am. Seven minutes later at 11.04am he is seen inside Galvin’s off-licence on Bandon Road where he is seen chatting with a member of staff.
Later CCTV relates to a taxi arriving at Bandon Road at 9.45pm that night.
Helen Jones, 54, of 27 Cahergal Avenue, Mayfield, Cork, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Jones — her 52-year-old brother — at his home on September 4 2019 at 108 Bandon Road, Cork.
Her co-accused Keith O’Hara, 43, also of 27 Cahergal Avenue, also pleaded not guilty to the same murder charge.
Each defendant is additionally charged with a different count related to alleged trespass at the same time and place. Helen Jones is charged with trespass to cause serious harm while carrying a knife. Keith O’Hara is charged with trespassing to commit serious harm. The defendants also pleaded not guilty to these charges.
The case before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury of five women and seven men is expected to go on for four weeks at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.