July 21, 2024

Freshford murder trial: partner claimed Rita fell down the stairs

A MAN who told gardaí that his partner died after falling down the stairs of their county Kilkenny home was charged with murder after a post-mortem examination showed her injuries were not consistent with a fall, a court has heard.

The trial of Renars Veigulis, of Old Bridge Street in Freshford, opened in the Central Criminal Court today. He has pleaded not guilty to murdering Rita Apine (29) at their home on or about May 14, 2017.

Mr Veigulus (32) came to Ireland from about five years ago and was followed six months later by Ms Apine (pictured). The Latvian couple moved to Freshford in 2016.

The court heard the accused phoned an ambulance and said his partner had fallen down the stairs at about 12.18pm on May 14, 2017. When paramedics arrived, they noted the deceased had severe head injuries and there was a lot of blood at the scene.

They managed to resuscitate Ms Apine. She was rushed to hospital but died of her injuries later that day.

A garda at the scene noticed blood spatter that he did not think was consistent with a simple fall and an investigation began. A forensic team found further blood spatter which they also said was inconsistent with the account of Mr Veigulus. There was also evidence that blood had been wiped from a wall before paramedics and gardaí arrived at the scene.

Vincent Heneghan SC told the court that forensic scientists examined Mr Veigulis’s clothing and found evidence of blood spatter on his top which was not consistent with the version of events he put forward.

A postmortem by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan showed that the deceased had suffered severe blunt force trauma that was not consistent with a fall down the stairs.

During garda interviews the accused maintained that Ms Apine had died as a result of the fall.

The trial continues.



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