10 Aug 2022

South East murder accused claims partner 'fell down stairs'

South East murder accused claims partner 'fell down stairs'

South East murder accused claims partner 'fell down stairs'

A man who told gardai his partner died after falling down the stairs was charged with murder when a post-mortem showed she had injuries inconsistent with a fall, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Vincent Heneghan SC opened the trial of 32-year-old Renars Veigulis of Old Bridge Street in Freshford, Co Kilkenny who has pleaded not guilty to murdering Rita Apine (29) at their home on or about May 14, 2017.

Mr Heneghan told the jury of seven men and five women that both the accused and deceased are from Latvia. Mr Veigulus came to Ireland about five years ago, followed six months later by Ms Apine, and in 2016 they moved to Freshford, about 20 miles from Kilkenny City.

At 12.18pm on May 14 last year Mr Veigulus phoned an ambulance and said his partner had fallen down the stairs. When paramedics arrived they noted a lot of blood on the deceased and severe head injuries. They resuscitated Ms Apine at the scene and took her to hospital but she died later that day.

A garda at the scene noticed blood spatter that he did not think was consistent with a simple fall down the stairs and an investigation began. A forensic team found further blood spatter which they say is inconsistent with a fall and evidence that blood had been wiped from a wall prior to the arrival of paramedics and gardai.

Mr Heneghan said forensic scientists examined Mr Veigulis's clothing and found, on his top, evidence of blood spatter which was not consistent with the version of events he put forward. A post-mortem by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan showed that the deceased had suffered severe blunt force trauma that is not consistent with a fall down the stairs, Mr Heneghan said.

During garda interviews, the accused maintained that Ms Apine died as a result of the fall. "That is the matter that you will have to resolve," Mr Heneghan told the jury. The trial continues in front of Justice Tara Burns.

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