Nurse says dying man might not have 'been medically capable of making will'
A nurse in the trial of two men accused of forging the will of an elderly man has said she advised a person who phoned the hospital that the patient might not be 'medically capable of making a will'.
Marian Argue, who is now retired, worked as a staff nurse at Wexford General Hospital in 1998 when bachelor farmer Matthew Hayes was admitted to hospital.
She told prosecuting counsel Philip Sheahan, SC, she was working on St Aidan's Ward in the hospital on the night of December 18 to December 19, 1998.
Matthew Hayes passed away on Christmas Day 1998.
She said entries made in the nurses notes by her stated: 'patient has a bruised and broken area on right hip. Patient is very thin and emaciated and incontinent of urine'.
Further notes she made stated she 'advised a caller she was not sure if Mr Hayes was medically capable of making a will'.
It was the fifth day of the trial of William O'Leary (51) of Ramsgrange, Co Wexford, and Noel Hayes (61) a vegetable wholesaler from New Ross, Co. Wexford who have pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to forging the will on a date between December 1998 and January 1999.
Under cross-examination by Aidan Doyle, SC, defence counsel for Noel Hayes, Ms Argue agreed that a number of other nurses were tending to Mr Hayes and that on December 20, 1998 she had made further notes on Mr Hayes' progress that 'IV fluids remain in progress' and that Mr Hayes' had been 'nursed on alternative sides.'
Another note made by Ms Argue stated 'patient responding very little.' She explained that she couldn't understand Mr Hayes at this point.
When it was put to her that other notes stated 'Noel Hayes was visiting each day and was present when he (Matthew) died,' she could not confirm nor deny this.
'I was on night duty so if it was written in the nurses notes, then it's true,' said Ms Argue.
A grand-nephew of Matthew Hayes has told the trial that Matthew and Matthew's brother Thomas originally owned the land at Clonard and when Thomas died the Land Commission was called in to take the land back.
Pat Hayes (53) of Ferns in Enniscorthy told prosecuting counsel that Matthew Hayes had never married and that Matthew had retrieved the land back from the Land Commission.
'My grandmother was evicted from the home she shared with Thomas and Matthew,' said Pat Hayes.
'None of us had contact with Matthew Hayes,' he said. 'I am not aware if Noel had contact with him either.'
He said he wasn't in a position to tell the jury what had happened between the families between 1986 and 1998 as he was living in London at the time.
'My instructions are that Noel Hayes bought a farm in 1983 near Matthew Hayes' and in that time a relationship had developed,' said Mr Doyle.
Mr Doyle also said it is his instructions that Noel Hayes had no knowledge of the Land Commission putting Matthew Hayes off the land to which Pat Hayes replied: 'We weren't born at the time but it's an incident that happened. My mother told me she had to leave the land as she couldn't manage it and the Land Commission took it over.'
When counsel put it to Pat Hayes that this does not tally with public records, he replied 'I cannot confirm that'.
The trial continues before Judge Patricia Ryan and a jury of eight men and four women.