Elderly brothers’ bodies ‘were covered in blood’, court hears

Carer describes finding Thomas and John Blaine after they were beaten to death

A woman who  cared for two elderly brothers for almost a decade   has described finding their bodies covered in blood in their Co Mayo home.  File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

A woman who cared for two elderly brothers for almost a decade has described finding their bodies covered in blood in their Co Mayo home. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A woman who cared for two elderly brothers for almost a decade became emotional in court on Wednesday, as she described finding their bodies covered in blood in their Co Mayo home.

The woman, Helen Maloney, was giving evidence at a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court on Wednesday morning.

Alan Cawley, of Four Winds, Corrimbla, Ballina, is charged with murdering the two brothers, Thomas Blaine and John “Jack” Blaine, who were beaten to death in their Castlebar home on July 10th, 2013.

The 30-year-old has admitted killing the brothers, one of whom was disabled and was scalded during the assault. However, he has pleaded not guilty to murdering them at their home on New Antrim Street.

Ms Maloney told Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, prosecuting, that she was employed as a home help by the HSE and had been caring for the Blaine brothers for about nine years when they died.

She became emotional when Mr Buckley asked her about her first impression of them.

“Two absolute gentlemen,” she replied.

The barrister was then given permission to lead her through her evidence.

She agreed with him that the brothers were “very vulnerable, reclusive and had speech impediments”.

She agreed that Jack Blaine had both a speech and hearing problem, and had a spinal injury from an accident in England many years earlier. He had also suffered from dementia in his last few months.

She said she used to call in to see them three times a day, 365 days a year.

“They were two absolute gentlemen, a pleasure to look after,” she said. “They gave so much love and respect to me. They’ll be in my mind until the day I die. I loved them dearly, and so did the people of Castlebar.”

She said they were loved throughout the town, where their nickname was “the boys”.

She described them as treasures.

“They’d never hurt anybody,” she said, before describing the scene she found that morning.

Home visit

She said she arrived at the house at 7.15am on July 10th, 2013. She went into the kitchen and called out to them in the same way she had every day: “Are you ready to rock and roll?”

She got no answer. She then looked into Thomas Blaine’s bedroom, where she saw him lying on the floor, with his legs on the bed.

She said she shouted: “Tom, Tom, it’s Helen”, but there was no response.

She then saw a pool of blood on the floor and that he was saturated in blood. She said there was blood on the walls and there were bloody handprints in the room. She said she could see that the blood was coming from his head.

She said she went out the front door and asked two councilmen to call gardaí before running back into the house.

“I couldn’t find Jack,” she said.

She ran upstairs to Jack’s bedroom and found it totally ransacked.

“I searched, thinking he might have been hiding with fear, but there was no Jack,” she recalled.

She returned downstairs and found the back door fully open. She saw Jack Blaine on his back on the ground there, half in and half out of the house.

“He was also covered in blood all over,” she said.

The trial continues on Wednesday afternoon.