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Mongan was 'hit up to 40 times'

12 November 09 14:48 GMT

A man beaten to death in front of his wife and daughter was hit up to 40 times with at least two bladed weapons, Belfast Crown Court has heard.

John Mongan, 30, died after being attacked in the bedroom of his home in Fallswater Street, Belfast, in 2008.

Pathologist Dr Peter Ingram told the court in his opinion the attack continued even after Mr Mongan died.

Londonderry men Christopher Stokes, 34, Edward Gabriel Stokes, 38, and a 16-year-old boy deny murder.

The youth cannot be identified because of his age.

The three also deny causing criminal damage to a jeep owned by Mr Mongan and Edward Stokes denies a further charge of wounding Mrs Mongan with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on 7 February 2008.

Prosecution say that the men smashed their way into the bedroom of Mr Mongan's home on Fallswater Street and used a sword, an axe and a baton to hack and beat him to death in front of his heavily pregnant wife, Julia, and his seven-year-old daughter.

Dr Ingram, NI's assistant state pathologist, said he examined the body of the father-of-three and found between 30 and 40 cuts and incisions.

'Sharp'

He told prosecution the main cause of death would have been a wound which had sliced through an artery, causing "torrential bleeding".

This, said the doctor, would have caused his "rapid but not immediate death".

He said there was also one wound to Mr Mongan's head which was so deep the underlying skull was visible.

"Many of the injuries could have been caused by blows from a bladed weapon such as a knife, but others could have been caused by multiple blows from a bladed weapon such as a machete, hatchet or an axe with a sharp cutting edge," he said.

Under cross examination by a defence lawyer acting for Christopher Stokes, the pathologist agreed that some of the wounds to Mr Mongan's legs had not bled as profusely, indicating the possibility that he was most likely dead when they were inflicted.

Asked by another barrister acting for Edward Stokes, if there was any injury consistent with him being hit with a baseball bat or baton, Dr Ingram revealed that each and every injury sustained had been "as a result of sharp, bladed weapons" with no injuries suggesting he had been hit with any blunt weapon.

The trial continues.

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