By: Natasha Smith
MURDERED IRISHMAN Michael Ahern died from head trauma caused by repeated blunt force, a court heard was told this week.
Albufeira court also heard that four bullet wounds and numerous skull fractures were discovered during the autopsy on the victim.
The medical examiner (ME), who performed the autopsy, said three bullet wounds were too shallow to cause death and one was more likely to have caused paralysis rather than death.
The ME said the head injuries were consistent with repeated kicks.
Marks on Ahern’s neck could have been caused by rope, he said, and were sustained before death. It was not definitive that a v-shaped mark on his hand, which could have been caused by a hot iron, occurred post mortem.
The ME speculated that a mark across Ahern’s hand could have been caused by a person closing the trunk of a car on it.
Ahern’s body was in rigor mortis when it was found and the ME told the court that this could occur between 12 hours and 24 hours after death, depending on temperature.
The medical examiner could not determine conclusively whether some of the fractures were sustained post mortem or whether the bullets were fired before the blows were delivered.
The head judicial police investigator for the case detailed his findings at Figueira’s apartment, where Ahern’s body was found.
It smelled of bleach and looked thoroughly clean. Bin bags and bleach were found in the bathroom along with a bag of bloodied clothes.
Ahern’s BMW was discovered in the garage of the apartment block, with blood drops on the ground. The inside windows, seats and roof were covered in blood as was the trunk. The investigator added that they did not find bullet holes in the car.
Englishman David Figueira confessed to firing a weapon at Ahern in September 2005 but claims it was self defence.
Ahern’s body was then stored in a large freezer in Figueira’s apartment. If police had not acted quickly, the prosecution believes that the victim’s body would have been cut up and disposed of using the bin bags, which were found at the scene. Prosecutors are trying to establish premeditation, with money as the motive. They believe that not only should Figueira be held accountable but Irishmen Brad Curtis, Kevin McMullen, Brian Murphy and Alan O’Sullivan should also be convicted of murder. Prosecution witness Denise Murphy, Brian Murphy’s wife, opted for her right to refuse to testify.
Under Portuguese law, if a witness for the prosecution is linked to the defence, they do not have to take the stand.
The last of the prosecution witnesses will be heard during the next court date, on March 22.
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