Northern Ireland

Assaulted uncle 'not treated for over an hour'

A man who died after a beating by two brothers did not receive medical treatment for an hour and 20 minutes, a court has heard.

Ambulance crew knew within minutes of arriving at the West Belfast home of Seamus Holland at 5.56am that he needed emergency attention but he was not handed over to RVH A&E until 7.20am.

Belfast Crown Court also heard that the ambulance crew asked to be met at the door of the hospital but it took 22 minutes for Mr Holland to be handed over to RVH staff.

Mr Holland died later that day, 21 November 2010.

The jury have already heard that Gerard Patrick Gaskin, 30. and his brother Daniel Bernard Gaskin, 22, from Gortnamona Way, confessed to police about attacking their uncle Seamus but they deny his murder.

Multiple injuries

After giving themselves up to police the brothers claim they went to "hurt" their uncle because of a rape allegation.

Assistant State Pathologist for Northern Ireland Dr James Lyness recounted to the court how Mr Holland, 55, had 85 injuries, or sites of injuries on his body, including fractured ribs, arms, nose and leg, a shattered shoulder blade, as well as a knife wound and a dozen deep puncture type injuries which could have been caused "by a nail".

Dr Lyness said that Mr Holland had sustained multiple injuries which could have been caused by a combination of kicking, stomping or punching or blows from a blunt object such as a rod-like weapon.

Paramedic Anthony Dougan told the jury that although the ambulance crew arrived just before 6am, Mr Holland was an "unco-operative and restless" patient who initially did not want to go to hospital and that it took some convincing, both on their part and on the part of family members, for him to go to hospital.

The jury heard that Mr Dougan and his technician colleague Tyrone Smith were so concerned about Mr Holland's injuries and their potential consequences that they called him in as a "stand-by two" which should have meant hospital staff were awaiting their arrival.

No staff were waiting and during Mr Dougan's cross examination, it emerged Mr Holland was not seen by hospital staff for 22 minutes.

The paramedic was asked by defence QC Paul Ramsey, on behalf of Daniel Gaskin, if the fact that he was coming towards the end of his 12-hour shift had any influence on decisions made about Mr Holland's treatment, suggesting to him that the 55 minutes it took to get him to hospital was a "gross delay".

Mr Dougan however refuted the suggestion, telling the lawyer his shift pattern bore no influence on any decision and that "it was not a straightforward call... it took as long as it took".

Mr Ramsey however repeated the suggestion, putting to the paramedic that describing Mr Holland as unco-operative was "invented by you to cover your tracks" but again, that was denied with Mr Dougan telling the court and jury: "The call was done as quickly as we could."

The trial continues.