Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Amber' actor withdraws appeal against conviction for assaulting ex girlfriend

David Murray leaving the Dublin District Court
David Murray leaving the Dublin District Court
David Murray
David Murray

Tom Tuite

Actor David Murray has withdrawn his appeal against his conviction for attacking his former partner who accused him of hitting and strangling her during a domestic row.

Murray, 45, played the late minister for finance Brian Lenihan in the film The Guarantee, also starred in the hit TV series Amber and had a part in Hollywood blockbuster Batman Begins.

David Murray as Brian Lenihan
David Murray as Brian Lenihan

On March 6 last, he was spared a six-month sentence but fined €500 after he was convicted of assaulting Jessie Mulligan (41) at her former home, a studio apartment, in Grosvenor Sq, in Rathmines, south Dublin, in the early hours of October 5, 2013.

The Cork-born actor had denied the charge but was found guilty following a trial at Dublin District Court. Immediately after the trial, he indicated he would challenge the verdict and his appeal had been set down for hearing yesterday (THUR) at the Circuit Court and  expected to last 40 minutes.

However, when it was called, defence solicitor Michael Kelleher informed Judge Terence O'Sullivan the appeal was being withdrawn and he said the prosecution had been notified in advance. Murray, who lives on the South Circular Road in Dublin, was not present.

The judge affirmed the original district court order meaning his conviction stands.

During the original trial in March, Ms Mulligan, 41, said she thought Murray would kill her when he grabbed by her throat, hit her in the face twice and had his knee on her chest. She also alleged it was an abusive relationship and Murray manipulated her and had isolated her from her friends and family. She also claimed that she had moved home to get away from him.

She said at about 10.30pm Murray arrived at her new apartment and he had been drinking. She claimed Murray had been recently evicted from his apartment and had nowhere to stay.

Sandyford skyline: Eva Birthistle and David Murray as Amber’s estranged parents Sarah and Ben Bailey.
Sandyford skyline: Eva Birthistle and David Murray as Amber’s estranged parents Sarah and Ben Bailey.

She had let him stay at her new home and he also brought his pet dog, but she claimed she did not want him there.

He had a shower and they went to bed together and “we were just messing around”. She explained she had a feeling something was not right and looked at his phone. She claimed there were text messages containing lies about her and she wanted him out of her apartment.

She alleged she woke him up and showed him the messages and claimed he told her she was paranoid and that he asked her to show him the messages.

Ms Mulligan alleged he came towards her, was really aggressive and she fell back onto a couch. “He had his knee on my neck and had his hand around my throat, he was strangling me,” she had said in evidence.

She said she threw his phone on the floor before he went at her. She alleged he hit her twice to the sides of her head and was shouting that she had ruined a friendship he had with another person. “He was naming someone while hitting me,” she had said. Ms Mulligan had told the trial she managed to push him off her and ran out of the apartment in her pyjamas.

She had also said she went to hospital and had to wear a neck brace. She agreed she said in her statement that she thought father-of-two Murray was going to kill her.

Garda Andrew Dunne had told the trial he found Ms Mulligan standing in the garden of a house in her pyjamas and she was crying. He took photos of scratch marks to her chest and upper neck which were furnished to the court.

Murray had told the trial, “I have never hit a woman in my life and never will, that is ridiculous, that is a lie.” He said he struggled with her for three or four seconds for the phone and that must have caused the scrapes on her.

He said that during the struggle he fell on top of her and he grabbed the phone and he did not want her reading his text messages. “It was my phone, it was my property,” he had said.

The trial Judge Hugh O'Donnell got Murray to look at the photos of the scratch to Ms Mulligan's neck. He did not accept defence arguments that Murray had used reasonable force in a struggle to get his phone back.


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