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Dublin's Central Criminal Court
Dublin's Central Criminal Court
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Baby, whose father is accused of his murder, had paper from two tissue boxes in his throat when he died

John Tighe has pleaded not guilty to murdering his son Joshua on 1 June 2013.
Mar 8th 2018, 2:44 PM 27,782 0

Updated at 5.45pm

BABY JOSHUA TIGHE, whose father is on trial accused of his murder, had paper that matched two different tissue boxes in his throat when he died, a forensic scientist told the Central Criminal Court today.

John Tighe, aged 40, of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo has pleaded not guilty to murdering his son Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on 1 June 2013.

Bridget Fleming of Forensic Science Ireland examined the “bolus” or “wad” of tissue that was taken from the six-month-old baby’s throat during a post-mortem carried out by Dr Khalid Jaber.

She told prosecuting counsel Paul Murray SC that it consisted of two pieces of tissue paper, one three-ply and one two-ply, that were crumpled together.

Gardaí gathered tissue paper from various parts of the house where Joshua died and Fleming compared those with the pieces taken from the baby’s throat.

She found that the three-ply paper matched tissue from a box found in the main bedroom while the other matched tissue found in a box in the sitting room. She said she analysed the tissue for its dimensions, the number of layers and the number of folds in the tissue.

She added that the tissue was not from a baby wipe.

Allegations

The prosecution alleges that Tighe murdered his son by putting the wad of tissue in Joshua’s throat, causing death by asphyxiation.

Tighe denies the charge and when speaking to emergency services said that he was changing the baby’s nappy, went to the toilet and when he returned the child was choking and had gone blue.

John Hoade of Forensic Science Ireland told Murray that he took blood samples from Tighe’s pyjama bottoms and compared them to blood taken from baby Joshua during post-mortem. He said the DNA on the pyjamas matched that of Joshua.

Further profiles taken from a babygrow and baby vest also matched Joshua’s blood, as did samples taken from stains found on the floor of the sitting room and a wall. The babygrow and vest had multiple light blood stains on them.

Hoade agreed with defence counsel Mícheál P O’Higgins SC that if the baby was bleeding as Tighe held him while trying to help him, that would explain the presence of Joshua’s blood on his pyjamas. Counsel pointed out that Tighe, during a phone call to emergency services, said there was blood coming from Joshua’s mouth.

Daniel Sommerville told Murray that he met Joshua’s mother, Natasha Sussbier, on St Patrick’s Day in 2013, shortly after she had separated from Tighe. Sommerville and Natasha Sussbier started a relationship around the start of May and she moved in with him.

On 31 May, they put a post on Facebook saying: “Daniel Sommerville and Natasha Sussbier are in a relationship.”

Tighe collected Joshua from Natasha later that day and the following day Joshua died.

Under cross-examination, the witness agreed that it could have been “blindingly obvious” to the accused man that Natasha Sussbier was in a relationship before the Facebook post.

He said he did not remember Tighe seeing them holding hands but agreed it is possible that he did.

Justice Patrick McCarthy told the jury of three men and nine women to return to court on Monday as he and counsel must deal with a legal issue in their absence.

Comments are off as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Read: Father accused of murdering his baby told doctor who arrived on scene to ‘do something’

More: Nurse tells court she is unsure a father followed her instructions as baby choked on tissue

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Eoin Reynolds

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