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Paramedic says emergency call to Nadine Lott's house will haunt him for the rest of his career

The trial heard that Lott suffered “severe blunt force trauma” and stab injuries at the hands of her former partner in 2019.

Nadine Lott.
Nadine Lott.

A PARAMEDIC HAS told a murder trial that the emergency call he made to Nadine Lott’s house will “haunt” him for the rest of his career and was one of the most “horrendous scenes” he had ever walked into in his life.

The witness told the Central Criminal Court today that it was like “a bulldozer” had gone through the beauty therapist’s apartment in Arklow as there was “broken furniture” everywhere.

He described kneeling on broken glass and said his uniform was “destroyed” with blood as he performed CPR on Lott. 

Nurse Leah Grant, who works in the intensive care unit in St Vincent’s Hospital, broke down today as she told the jury that Nadine was “completely unrecognisable” and she had never seen anybody so badly injured.

“Her mum brought in a photo of her and everyone kept saying who is that and I said that’s her,” she said. 

Opening the trial of Daniel Murtagh yesterday, prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC said Lott suffered “severe blunt force trauma” and stab injuries at the hands of her former partner “in a sustained attack” in her Arklow home.

The barrister said the court will hear evidence that the injuries to Lott were so serious that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old ex-partner Lott at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on 17 December 2019.

Giving evidence today, Garda Linda Butler said she noticed a really intense smell of blood as she entered Nadine’s apartment on the night.

Nadine was lying on the kitchen floor beside her mother with her head “pushed up” against the skirting board and surrounded by a large pool of blood. There was a butter knife in the pool of blood and broken glass on the floor, she said.

The witness said the left side of Nadine’s face was “extremely and grotesquely swollen” and her left eye was “completely swollen shut”.

Her lips were blood-stained and there were a number of puncture wounds over her face and neck. She was unresponsive and “labouring” trying to breathe, she recalled.

The garda said Nadine had a stab wound both over and under her left eye, on both sides of her face and a puncture wound to the front area of her neck. Recounting her conversation with ambulance control, Garda Butler said she informed them that Nadine had been “beaten to a pulp” with a number of wounds to her face.

Blood was coming from everywhere, she told the jury, as she administered CPR to Nadine.

When she was instructed to make sure the patient’s airways were clear, Butler placed her fingers inside Nadine’s mouth and noticed she was missing some teeth. She said there were bloody footprints on a rug when she left the apartment that night.

The witness said Nadine was brought to the emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital by ambulance at 6.40am that morning and a doctor informed her that she had sustained “life-altering injuries”, with paralysis of the face and it was probable that she had lost sight in her left eye.

She was transferred from the emergency department to the intensive care unit of St Vincent’s Hospital at 10.58am.

Under cross-examination, Garda Butler told defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC that it was the worst scene she had seen in her 14 years of service in An Garda Siochana.

She said she had never seen a person beaten so badly and described the night as a “pretty bad” experience.

Paramedic Stefano Copola said he received a call at 4.36am that morning and travelled to St Mary’s Court. He said there was a lot of blood in the hallway of the apartment and on the wall.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” he remarked.

Nadine was unresponsive, unconscious and making no verbal communication or eye contact.

“She did have a very faint pulse at the time which was very unstable so it took a considerable amount of work to try and maintain the pulse which we lost three times before we left the scene. From my experience this was quite an extensive amount of blood loss,” he said.

There were considerable injuries to Nadine’s face, left eye and neck and a lot of swelling around her facial area as well as puncture wounds to her abdomen.

She had to be moved from the sitting room to the centre of the kitchen to allow for 360 degree access so that up to four paramedics in conjunction with the armed response unit could work on her, he explained.

Paramedic Ian Clarke began his testimony by saying that St Mary’s Court was one of “the most horrendous scenes” he had ever walked into in his life.

He described the incident as “extremely and unbelievably difficult, very emotional, very charged”.

He noted that Nadine had some “horrific lacerations” to her face saying: “Her injuries were so severe and her body was soaked in blood that it was difficult so see where all of the injuries were”.

Describing the state of the apartment, the witness said it was like a bulldozer had gone through it as there was broken furniture and frames everywhere.

“The first thing I noticed was that I was walking on broken glass. It was one of the most horrendous sites I’ve seen in a good while. The kitchen was wrecked and we had to move some of the broken furniture out of the way to assist with CPR,” he said.

Clarke said he had to kneel on broken glass and his uniform was “destroyed” with blood, calling it “horrendous”.

“It was one of those calls which will haunt me for the rest of my career. I’ve been to some horrific calls but this was extremely difficult, very emotional and very charged,” he told the jurors.

The paramedic said a garda drove the ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital that night so that three personnel could work on Nadine in the back.

Nurse Pamela O’Brien, who works in the emergency department of St Vincent’s Hospital, said there was a significant amount of damage to Nadine’s body and she was unconscious the whole time.

“She was losing a lot of blood and we were trying to get as much blood into her,” she said.

O’Brien said she found bits of wood and ceramics “matted” into Nadine’s hair, describing one piece as looking like a “bit of a dinner plate”.

“There were always about four or five people at any one time working on her, it could be up to eight or nine,” she remarked.

Referring to her size, the witness said Nadine was tiny and her head was huge in comparison to her “little body”.

“I presume it was because of all the swelling around her face,” she indicated.

O’Brien became emotional when she described doing her best to make Nadine as presentable as possible that day as her family were coming in later.

“It didn’t make a massive difference what I did to her as they had already seen her at the scene,” she added.

Nurse Leah Grant, who works in the intensive care unit in St Vincent’s Hospital, said she took over Nadine’s care with another consultant after the patient left the emergency unit at 11am that morning.

Breaking down on the stand, Grant said she could not check Nadine’s pupils as her right eye was so physically swollen that they could not open it.

“I’m not sure if her left eye was physically present and if the eyeball was punctured,” she said.

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She said the patient had multiple lacerations to her face, thorax, abdomen and hands and numerous injuries throughout her whole body. There were a lot of shards of reflective glass in her hair and her nose was continuously bleeding.

She said Nadine, who was very small and petite, received 42 units of blood in the first 24 hours in hospital.

“I’ve never seen anybody as badly injured as her. She was completely unrecognisable. Her mum brought in a photo of her and everyone kept saying who is that and I said that’s her,” she sobbed.

She told the jury that Nadine was “incredibly badly injured” and a lot of the injuries were solely on her face.

Earlier, Stephen Bracken, the boyfriend of Nadine’s neighbour Amela Kulenovic, said he was lying in bed with his girlfriend at St Mary’s Court when he heard loud banging and screaming.

Bracken said he had seen the accused leaving Nadine’s apartment after the incident and get into the deceased’s car.

Bracken then went to check on Nadine and said her entire apartment was “wrecked” with broken mirrors and furniture everywhere.

“I walked as far as the living room and called her name and I only heard her gasping for air,” he said, adding that she was lying on the floor and he could only see her shoulder through the hallway.

Amela Kulenovic gave evidence this morning that she told gardaí that Murtagh made a “growling noise” and was “vicious with rage” as he inflicted blows on Nadine “like a wild animal”.

The witness also told the court of finding Murtagh “in a crouched position” on top of Lott, where he was “inflicting a lot of force” on the beauty therapist and had his hands around her neck and shoulders.

O’Kelly also recalled Nadine’s mother Claire Lott today.

Addressing Lott, Grehan said he was terribly sorry to have to ask her matters concerning her daughter’s relationship with the accused.

Counsel put it to the witness that his client and Nadine had got back together five times since they returned to Ireland from Australia.

“That’s not true,” replied Lott.

The barrister asked if Murtagh had stayed with Nadine in her apartment at other times up to her death. Lott said the accused had only stayed in her daughter’s house on the night of December 13.

Grehan asked the witness if it would be fair to say that she did not like the accused.

“I never said that. You are asking me that question where my daughter has been murdered. Before this, at times I did like Daniel. He was Nadine’s choice at the time,” she replied.

Yesterday, Grehan made a number of admissions of fact to the court on behalf of his client following the opening address.

These included that the accused accepted that he had unlawfully killed Lott and he “alone inflicted the injuries she suffered”.

The issue to be decided by the jury, Grehan said, will be his intent and in the “broader sense his mental state at the time”.

The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of seven men and five women.

Comments are closed as legal proceedings are ongoing. 

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Alison O'Riordan

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