09 Aug 2022

Murder trial: Witness tells court that 'lovely' Waterford pensioner (90) looked 'very swollen'

'Lovely' Waterford pensioner (90) looked 'very swollen'

The late Paddy Lyons of County Waterford

A witness has told a murder trial that a 90-year-old Waterford pensioner looked “very swollen” and she thought he was “unconscious” when she called to his home, not realising he was already dead. 

Ross Outram (28) is on trial at the Central Criminal Court accused of murdering Paddy Lyons (90) in County Waterford nearly two years ago.

Mr Outram of Ferryland, Waterford Road, Clonmel in County Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the retired farmer at Loughleagh, Ballysaggart, Lismore, County Waterford, at a time unknown between February 23 and 26, 2017.

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Giving evidence on Tuesday, Kathleen Kiely told prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC that she has sold second-hand clothes around the country for over 30 years and went on one of her "regular trips" on February 24, 2017.

Ms Kiely said she was in the village of Ballysaggart on February 25 and she arrived at Mr Lyons house with her husband around 4pm that day. The gate to Mr Lyons house was closed and she found it unusual that there was “no bolt or lock” on it, said Ms Kiely, adding that the gate was normally locked.

“If the home help was there the gate would be open, but she wasn’t there that day,” said Ms Kiely, adding that she would call to Mr Lyons house around three or four times a year.

The witness said she knocked on the door, opened it and stepped inside the house. 

“I looked straight ahead, Paddy was sitting in his chair and looking at the door,” said Ms Kiely, adding that his chair usually faced the fireplace and not the front door.

The witness explained that Mr Lyons did not move or respond when she called his name. She said he was wearing tracksuit bottoms which was "unusual" for him.

“I thought he was very swollen and I thought he was unconscious and had caused a fire in his house,” she said, adding that there was “black” on the ground.

Ms Kiely said she only stayed a few seconds before she went outside to her husband and told him they had to get help.

The witness said she did not realise Mr Lyons was dead at the time and said she would call back to Mr Lyons' house the following day after she had “reported the problem” to his neighbours. She called the deceased “a lovely person”. 

Thomas Kiely, the husband of Kathleen Kiely, said his wife was “shook up” when she came out of Mr Lyons' house. They drove to the top of the lane and told a couple who lived in a nearby bungalow what Ms Kiely had seen, he said.

Earlier, Mary Fennessey told Mr O’Kelly that she called to Mr Lyons' home on a daily basis and had helped him for many years. “He had no running water, so I would bring in water and bring in his food,” she said.

Ms Fennessey said she arrived at Mr Lyons' house at 3pm or 4pm on February 24 and he was in “great form”. She added: “The way Paddy lived he trusted everyone."

In his opening address on Monday, prosecuting counsel John O’Kelly SC said the jury will hear evidence that Mr Outram told gardaí that he repeatedly struck Mr Lyons, who only had the use of one arm, in “self-defence”.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Paul Coffey and a jury of eight men and four women.

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