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Thomas Dooley

Pathologist tells murder trial of stab and chop wounds to Thomas Dooley

The altercation occurred as a woman was being laid to rest in the graveyard.

A 42-YEAR-OLD FATHER of seven who died following an altercation in a Kerry graveyard sustained two stab wounds, one chop wound and an incision wound, a pathologist has told a murder trial.

Six men are on trial at a sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork charged with the murder of 42 year old Thomas Dooley, at New Rath Cemetery, Rathass, Tralee on October 5th, 2022. 

The altercation occurred as a woman was being laid to rest in the graveyard. 

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 men have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Dooley. 

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

The trial, which is in its third week, today heard evidence from State Pathologist Dr Sally Anne Collis. Dr Collis carried out a postmortem on Mr Dooley on October 6 2022 in a mortuary across the street from the New Rath Cemetery. 

Dr Collis said that she visited the scene of the altercation. She noted blood stains and clotted blood on the grass in the graveyard. Gardaí informed her that a machete had been recovered in grass adjacent to the cemetery.

Dr Collis said that the body of Mr Dooley showed no signs of asphyxiation. Signs of medical intervention were noted.

A stab wound was recorded on the back of the deceased. It was 5.8 centimetres in length and one centimetre in width with a depth of over six centimetres. The jury heard that the wound had damaged the small bones in the spine. 

It also caused haemorrhage around the spinal cord. Dr Collis said that the degree of damage sustained to the back would have required moderate to severe force.

A stab wound was also noted on the right upper thigh with “significant blood loss.” This was a cut of over 10cm which transected Mr Dooley’s femoral artery. It also punctured one of his veins.  There was also an incision wound to the upper leg which was 7.8cm in length.

Dr Collis said he sustained a blunt force injury to the head. Haemorrhaging also occurred in the right temple area.

Dr Collis said the clothing worn by the deceased on the date the altercation took place had evidence of blood staining. His jeans were heavily blood stained while socks also had specks of blood. 

Dr Collis also logged a chop wound on the right upper arm which was 25.5 cm in length, 5cm in width and 13cm in depth. She said that the chop wound was caused by a “sharp implement — the sharpness of the blade incised the wound.” Fatty tissue and muscle was exposed.

Abrasions and bruising was recorded on multiple areas in the body. Dr Collis said the cause of death was sharp force injuries resulting in blood loss. A machete which gardai found in the area of the cemetery was also shown today in court.

Meanwhile, the trial previously heard evidence from Garda Alan Crowley of the Crime Scene investigation Unit in Cork. He said that officers in the city became aware of a serious incident in Tralee at lunchtime on 5 October, 2022.

A van driven by Patrick Dooley to Cork city on that date was among the vehicles examined following the fatal incident in the graveyard.

Garda Crowley went to a lock up facility where the white van was being stored by gardai on 6 October, 2022. He said that he took pictures of a blood stained sock on the floor of the van and of blood staining to a child seat on the passenger side of the van.

He told Justice Mary Ellen Ring that he also took photographs of blood on the button of the handbrake as well as collecting a number of wet and dry swabs from the vehicle including from the gear stick and baby seat.

Under cross examination by defence barristers Garda Crowley acknowledged that the vehicle driven by Patrick Dooley had been seized from Cork University Hospital. (CUH)

Garda Crowley said that he “didn’t know anything” about injuries which were allegedly sustained by Patrick Dooley on 5 October, 2022. He said he was of the opinion that the blood was ‘contact blood.”

The trial also previously heard from Sgt Liam Lingane who went to the A and E department at CUH at 8.30pm on 5 October, 2022 where he met with Patrick Dooley.

Patrick Dooley informed Sgt Lingane that he had attended a funeral that day. Sgt Lingane said Patrick told him that “Cork lads” were on top of his brother at the funeral that day. Patrick told Sgt Lingane that he tried to “pull some fellas off his brother.

Mr Dooley said he decided to head to Cork to go to hospital when he noticed blood ‘dripping” off his left arm.

The case continues tomorrow in front of Justice Ring and the jury of 15 which includes three substitute members.


Olivia Kelleher