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 on Wednesday 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 Ms Lott.
Nurse Leah Grant, who works in the intensive care unit in St Vincent’s Hospital, broke down on Wednesday 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 on Tuesday, prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC said Ms 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 would hear evidence that the injuries to Ms Lott were so serious that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.
Mr 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 Ms Lott at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th 2019.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Ms 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.
Ms Grant said she took over Nadine’s care with a consultant after the patient left the emergency unit at 11am that morning. Breaking down on the stand, the nurse said she could not check Nadine’s pupils as her right eye was so physically swollen that they could not open it.
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’.”
Earlier, Nadine’s neighbour Amela Kulenovic, gave evidence that she told gardaí that Mr 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 Mr Murtagh “in a crouched position” on top of Ms Lott, where he was “inflicting a lot of force” on the beauty therapist and had his hands around her neck and shoulders.
Mr O’Kelly also recalled Nadine’s mother Claire Lott on Wednesday.
Addressing Ms Lott, defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC 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 Ms Lott.
The barrister asked if Mr Murtagh had stayed with Nadine in her apartment at other times up to her death. Ms Lott said the accused had only stayed in her daughter’s house on the night of December 13th.
Mr 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.
On Tuesday, Mr 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 Ms Lott and he “alone inflicted the injuries she suffered”. The issue to be decided by the jury, Mr Grehan said, will be his intent and in the “broader sense his mental state at the time”.
The trial continues on Thursday before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of seven men and five women.