Murder accused told relative he hit pensioner over money, trial told

Ross Outram (28) is accused of murdering Paddy Lyons in Co Waterford


A murder accused rang a family relation and told her that he had hit a 90-year-old pensioner because he would not give him money, a jury has heard.

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

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

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Sandra Walsh told prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC she lives in Carrick-on-Suir in Co Tipperary and her partner is Gary O’Brien. Mr O’Brien’s nephew is Ross Outram, the court heard.

Ms Walsh testified that she would only meet Mr Outram when she went to see his mother. The witness agreed with Mr O’Kelly she had received a phone call from Mr Outram on Facebook Messenger at 6.19pm on February 26th, 2017. Mr Outram was looking for a number for her partner Mr O’Brien who was in the UK at the time, she said, as he [Mr Outram] wanted to go there.

‘Hit the man’

Ms Walsh said she asked Mr Outram what was wrong and he replied by asking her if she had seen “about the man” on the news. The witness told Mr Outram she had seen the news on Facebook. Mr Outram told Ms Walsh he would ring her back on another number, she said, adding that he rang her back again at 6.30pm.

Ms Walsh said she asked the accused on this phonecall what was wrong or what was going on. The witness said Mr Outram had replied: “I hit the man because he wouldn’t give me money.” She asked the accused if this was the man that had died in Waterford and he said it was, she explained.

Mr Outram mentioned to Ms Walsh “about going on a boat to the UK” and asked her if she would bring him to the boat in Rosslare, she said, adding that she did not reply. Ms Walsh told the court she later rang a sergeant stationed in Clonmel to report what Mr Outram had told her.

Ms Walsh said she went to Mr Outram’s house the next day and he asked her to bring him into town to get something to eat. Ms Walsh was driving back towards Ferryland with Mr Outram when her car was stopped by gardaí and he was arrested, she said.

Under cross-examination by Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, Ms Walsh agreed that Mr Outram was “effectively reared” by his grandmother. She further agreed that Mr Outram’s grandmother was very close to Mr Lyons and she had died in 2005.

Mr O’Higgins told the court Mr Outram’s mother reacted badly to her own mother’s death and “took to the drink”. Mr O’Higgins put it to Ms Walsh that his client was concerned Mr Lyons was giving his mother money which “she used to take drink”. The witness replied she did not know anything about this.

Sergeant Ger Falvey told Mr O’Kelly that he got a call to attend Mr Lyons house on February 25th and had used a flashlight to observe the deceased’s body. Mr Lyons was not wearing trousers, had on only a pair of boxer shorts and was sitting in a chair which faced the front door of the house, he said. A trail of urine was coming from his seat and there was soot on his legs as well some “red marks”, which were possibly blood, Sgt Falvey said.

Earlier, paramedic David Galvin said he got a call from ambulance control in connection with a man who had suffered a cardiac arrest in Ballysaggart on February 25th. Mr Galvin said he had to use his torch as there were no lights on in the man’s house. “The patient was slumped in a chair” he said, adding that the man had no pulse and there was blood and ash on his knees. There was some blood on the deceased’s scalp as well as dried blood on his hands, said the witness.

“I looked straight ahead, Paddy was sitting in his chair and looking at the door,” Kathleen Kiely said. Photograph: Collins Courts
“I looked straight ahead, Paddy was sitting in his chair and looking at the door,” Kathleen Kiely said. Photograph: Collins Courts

Earlier on Tuesday a witness has told the trial thepensioner looked “very swollen” and she thought he was “unconscious” when she called to his home, not realising he was already dead.

Kathleen Kiely told prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC that she has sold second-hand clothes around the country for over thirty years and went on one of her “regular trips” on February 24th 2017.

Ms Kiely said she was in the village of Ballysaggart on February 25th 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 24th and he was in “great form”. “The way Paddy lived he trusted everyone,” she said, adding that Mr Lyons was “very lively” for his age and had no aches or pains. Mr Lyons had dislocated his shoulder at birth so did not have the use of one hand, the court heard.

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