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Wife of Thomas Dooley sustained foot-long wound and needed 45 stitches and 30 staples, murder trial hears

Six men are on trial at a sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork charged with the murder of Thomas Dooley.

A WOMAN SUSTAINED a foot long wound and required 45 stitches and 30 staples following an incident in a graveyard in Tralee, Co Kerry in which her husband died, a court has heard.

Six men are on trial at a sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork charged with the murder of Thomas Dooley, at New Rath Cemetery, Rathass, Tralee on 5 October, 2022.

Mr Dooley was a 42-year-old father of seven.

The accused in the case include Patrick Dooley (36) of Arbutus Grove, Killarney; Daniel Dooley (42) of An Carraigín, Connolly Park, Tralee; Thomas Dooley Snr (43), Thomas Dooley Jnr (21) Michael Dooley (29) of Carrigrohane Road, Cork; and a teenager who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Patrick is the brother of the late Thomas Dooley. Three of the other defendants are first cousins of the deceased. All six have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Thomas Dooley.

Thomas Dooley Jnr also pleaded not guilty to a charge of intentionally or recklessly causing harm to Siobhán Dooley at Rath Cemetery on the same date.

Today the court heard that Mrs Dooley was taken to University Hospital Kerry (UHK) for treatment after she incurred injuries at Rath Cemetery.

The court heard from hospital registrar Dr Muhammad Essa who said that Mrs Dooley had sustained a “serious injury.”

He said she had what appeared to be a 30 cm (foot long) wound on the back of her shoulder.

“You could see the fatty tissue. It had gone to the layer under the skin. There was a dressing on the wound (administered by paramedics.) The blood of course was soaking the gauze. It was oozing blood,” Dr Essa said.

He said that the wound went from the right shoulder of Mrs Dooley and extended to her armpit.

“It was not shredded. It was a clear cut. It happened (was caused) by something sharp.”

Dr Essa told Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring and the jury that he gave Mrs Dooley 45 stitches and 30 staples.

“The staples were used because stitches wouldn’t hold it together. Staples are stronger and faster.”

 Informed of the death of husband

He said that Mrs Dooley was informed of the death of her husband Thomas whilst she was in hospital.

“We talked about the passing of her husband. She was very distressed. It was very sad. We had to give her (Siobhan) some sedation to calm her down.

He stated that a CT scan was carried out to ensure that Mrs Dooley had not sustained internal wounds.

Dr Martin Boyd, Consultant in Emergency Medicine in UHK, was also on duty on the same day in a non clinical capacity. He became aware that Mrs Dooley was being treated and that she required sutures.

Dr Boyd said that the wound was “about a foot long” with quite sharp edges. However, he said that fortunately Mrs Dooley didn’t suffer internal damage to her organs.

His conclusion was that Mrs Dooley sustained ‘harm’ rather than ‘serious harm’ as a “substantial risk of death’ had not occurred.

Meanwhile, evidence in the case was also heard from Sion O’Driscoll who went to Rath Cemetery in Tralee on 5 October, 2022 for the funeral of his aunt Bridget O’Brien.

He said that he had travelled from Cork for the funeral. He initially went to the funeral home and then the remains of O’Brien were taken from a motorised hearse to a horse drawn carriage for the final procession to the graveyard.

O’Driscoll said that he was serving as a pallbearer when he told his father to “get under the coffin” in his place.

“I heard screaming down the end of the graveyard. I ran down and I saw a man lying dead. It was Thomas Dooley. I knew him well. He was a good friend. He was a quiet man.

Siobhán was cut as well. It looked like an X or something.

 Did not witness attack

He said that he didn’t witness an attack on the person of Mr Dooley or his wife. However, he did notice people running to the gate.

“There was lots of people running out. I saw the Dooleys running out.”

Evidence was also given in the case from scenes of crime examiner Garda Brian Hayles who attended at the cemetery on the date of the incident.

Garda Hayles said the scene was preserved for examination. He noted that there was a large pool of blood on a pathway in the cemetery.

It was “threatening rain” so he placed long plastic sheeting over the blood. A search was carried out of the cemetery.

Items recovered included a black sheath for a large knife found on a nearby grave and a lucozade bottle with a “blood like” substance on it.

A statement from Noreen Dooley Harty was also read in to evidence.

Harty is an older daughter of the late Thomas Dooley and his wife Siobhán. She identified her father at the hospital.

She said she was a little afraid when she went in to identify her father. However, she didn’t want to leave him when the identification was concluded. The case continues next Monday.

Olivia Kelleher