Ross Outram (28) found guilty of murdering 90-year-old farmer Paddy Lyons

Panel of eight men and four women reject ‘self defence’ claim

 

Ross Outram has been jailed for life after a jury found him guilty of murdering a 90-year-old retired farmer, who was found beaten to death in his own home.

The panel of eight men and four women rejected the 28-year-old’s claim that he repeatedly struck Paddy Lyons in “self defence” after the pensioner, who suffered from osteoporosis and only had the use of one arm, “attacked” him with a stick.

The trial heard that the farmer’s body was discovered slumped in his armchair at his home. Blood was smeared down his face and his penis was exposed through his underwear.

Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the trial that Mr Lyons suffered multiple blows to his head and neck from a blunt weapon and had fractures of his hip joint, jawbone and ribs.

Mr Lyons lived alone on his farm and had “trusted everyone”, the court heard, but became the victim of what was described as a “truly shocking and outrageous” attack by Outram, who has previous convictions for burglary and assault.

It was the State’s case that Outram had carried out “a vicious and sustained attack on a defenceless old man” with a non-functioning arm and the defendant’s claim of self-defence did “not bear thinking about”.

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

Before sentencing, a victim impact statement was read to the Central Criminal Court by the prosecution on behalf of Ms Lyons’ home help in Lismore, Mary Fennessy.

‘Greatly missed’

She said she knew him for over 20 years and “if anyone deserved a place in heaven, it’s Paddy.

“He was happy with simple things, had a great love for life and loved meeting people. He was a well known, well respected man of our community and he is greatly missed,” she said.

90-year-old Paddy Lyons who was murdered in his home in Ballysaggart near Lismore, Co Waterford. Photograph: Provision
90-year-old Paddy Lyons who was murdered in his home in Ballysaggart near Lismore, Co Waterford. Photograph: Provision

Ms Fennessy explained that Mr Lyons was the oldest man in their village and he was a “very friendly and trusting man”.

“He didn’t drive a car but everyone in the village knew him and would give him a lift in and out of Lismore. Everyone liked him,” she said.

The jury took three hours and 29 minutes to come to a unanimous guilty verdict.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey thanked them before exempting them from jury service for a period of 15 years.

Defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC told the court his client wanted to apologise for having killed Mr Lyons and he was remorseful for his actions.

The court heard that Outram has 25 previous convictions which include burglary, theft, possession of stolen property and assault causing harm.

Mr Justice Coffey then sentenced Outram to the mandatory term of life imprisonment for murder. The sentence was backdated to when he went into custody on February 27th, 2017.

Addressing Outram, Mr Justice Coffey said his conduct was “a truly shocking and outrageous fatal attack on a defenceless 90-year-old man in his own home.”

Outram told gardaí in interviews that he had “fought back” after Mr Lyons hit him with a walking stick and shovel, and that he had taken up to 100 Xanax that day. However, a pharmaceutical expert told the jury that there was “no proof” that Outram had taken Xanax.

The three-week trial heard medical evidence that Mr Lyons suffered a “stiffness or fusion” of his right shoulder during childbirth and could only keep it in one position.