Farmer accused of taking digger to mother's home 'adored her and she adored him'

Farmer accused of taking digger to mother's home 'adored her and she adored him'

Gordon Deegan

The west Clare farmer accused of causing €55,814 worth of damage to his 80-year-old mother’s home with a digger adored her and she adored him, a court has heard.

In emotional testimony at Ennis Circuit Court on Wednesday, Martin Morrissey said his brother, John “adored my mother and she adored him. They had more in common than the rest of us”.

Martin Morrissey said that his late mother, Mary could never do to John “what is being done to him”.

Mary suffered from dementia and was in respite care on December 13th 2019 when John Morrissey is accused of causing the criminal damage to her home at Alva, Cooraclare with a digger.

Father of six children aged 27 to 13, John Morrissey of Clonreddan, Cooraclare has pleaded not guilty to the charge of criminal damage.

Defence witness

One of 13 siblings in the Morrissey family and the only defence witness in the trial, Martin Morrissey told the court that he went to the home of his mother on the night of the alleged criminal damage and “a big crowd” had already gathered at the home to look at the damage.

Martin - who spent many years in the building trade - said that John told him on the night “Martin, they have to take care of my mother now”.

Martin agreed with counsel for John Morrissey, Patrick Whyms BL that John’s motivation in carrying out the damage to the home “was to ensure that his mother would have 24-hour care”.

Martin Morrissey told the court that his late mother required round the clock care because of her dementia.

Fighting back tears and looking across the courtroom at his brother, John, Martin said: “I haven’t seen my brother since my mother was buried last May. I haven’t seen him until today.”

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL told the court that Mary Morrissey “never saw the inside of the house again” after John Morrissey carried out the damage with the digger.

Mr Connolly told Martin Morrissey “you are here today to save your brother’s bacon”.

In reply, Martin Morrissey said: “I am telling you the truth about my brother. John was trusted. My brother John was adored by his mother and he adored her.”

Strained relations

Martin Morrissey admitted that relations were strained between himself and other members of the Morrissey family. He agreed with Mr Connolly that there are almost 40 grand-children in the family.

Mary Morrissey lived at her home with her son, Tom and Martin confirmed that he had a row with Tom in September 2019.

Earlier, Martin Morrissey told Mr Whyms that John and his late mother "had a gift of tracing relations".

He said “they would spend hours at it and go back to Adam and Eve tracing relations”.

Martin Morrissey said that the Wednesday before she died, his mother was at his home and told him “doesn’t John look well?”

He said: “Shortly after that she was gone.”

Det Sgt John Farmer confirmed to Mr Whyms that John Morrissey had never come to the attention of the Gardai prior to the alleged criminal damage incident.

The prosecution and defence ended on Wednesday and closing arguments are to be made in the trial on Thursday.

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