Man died from inhaling own blood and teeth, murder trial hears

Patrick O’Donnell was violently assaulted at pub in Mitchelstown, Co Cork in 2018

A 36-year-old father-of-four died from inhaling his own blood and teeth after he was violently assaulted in a Co Cork pub, a murder trial has been told.

Patrick "Ginty" O'Donnell from Stag Park, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, died from inhaling his own blood and teeth due to blunt force trauma to the head which he suffered in the assault, the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork heard.

Former State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy told the jury of six men and six women trying Michael Dineen (28) that she found that Mr O'Donnell's airways had been blocked by blood and teeth after the assault.

Mr Dineen from Mitchelstown, Co Cork has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter but denied the murder of Mr O’Donnell at Willie Andies Pub, New Square Mitchelstown on June 1st, 2018.

Prof Cassidy said that she found Mr O’Donnell had suffered extensive bruising and lacerations to his face and that his face, his shirt, his vest and the front legs of his trousers were all covered in blood.

He had lost seven teeth in the assault and she found one of these lodged in his trachea and another lodged in the bronchi leading to his left lung while she also found that his nose had been fractured and flattened.

Both the injury to his nose and the loss of his teeth had led to extensive bleeding back into his mouth when he was knocked to the ground and fell unconscious when his head hit the hard tiled floor of the pub.

This led to blood blocking his airways, resulting in hypoxia or lack of oxygen getting to his brain and because he was unconscious his gag reflex or his ability to gulp up the blood to clear his airways had been inhibited, she said.


Prof Cassidy said she found that Mr O’Donnell had a blood alcohol concentration level of 259mgs per 100ml which meant that he was highly intoxicated at the time of the assault.

This high level of intoxication combined with the fact that he had taken a number of tranquilisers, albeit within the therapeutic range, had also led to depression of his central nervous system and put him at risk.

Mr O’Donnell’s face and head were covered in blood and the injuries to his nose and mouth were consistent with a serious assault to his head and she suggested that these injuries may have been inflicted by someone kicking him.

However, she agreed with defence counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, when he put it to her, that these injuries could also have been caused by somebody punching Mr O’Donnell’s face with their fists when his head was lying on a hard surface.

Mr Grehan told the jury that they would hear eyewitness accounts that Mr Dineen had pummelled Mr O'Donnell's face with his two fists after Mr O'Donnell fell back and was knocked unconscious when his head hit the floor.

He said that the jury would hear evidence from two witnesses that while Mr Dineen did kick Mr O’Donnell as he lay on the floor he only kicked his body and the only blows he delivered to Mr O’Donnell’s head were punches. The case continues.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times