A 42-YEAR-OLD Dublin man has been found guilty of murdering his neighbour by strangling her with her nightdress and cutting her neck with a glass.
Jason Daly, of PJ Delaney Flats, Main Street, Mountrath, Co Laois, but originally from Sandyford, will be sentenced to life in prison next week for murdering mother-of-one Diane Burroughs at her flat in the same building.
The four-day-trial at the Central Criminal Court heard that the father-of-two murdered the 30-year-old Athy native on April 16, 2011, and then tried to make it look like a suicide.
Daly told gardai that he had known Ms Burroughs for two years and that they had an ‘on/off’ relationship. He said they had been back together about a week when he went to her flat the night before she died, after spending the evening drinking alcohol.
He said they went to sleep, woke early and spent the day drinking vodka and cider in her flat, which was beneath his.
He told gardai that they ‘made love’ at some stage before he cut her with her drinking glass and squeezed her neck until she went blue. He gave no reason for ending her life.
He said that he tried to clean up the scene after he killed her, and tried to make it look like a suicide by putting the broken glass he’d used to kill her into her hand.
The trial heard that he locked her in the flat before going out to raise the alarm and that gardai had to break down her door, which had been locked with a bolt and padlock.
A post-mortem exam found that Ms Burroughs died of strangulation with wounds to her neck contributing to her death.
The jury was shown her heavily blood-stained nightdress, which had been found under the victim’s bed.
It showed signs of twisting, the creases having stiffened due to the drying of Ms Burroughs’ blood.
The defence had not argued for an acquittal but for a manslaughter verdict. Barrister Paul Greene said that he didn’t know what was in his client’s mind beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I suggest that it would be hard to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt that a murder occurred,” he said, reminding the jurors that they had to be satisfied that Daly had the intent to kill or seriously injure.
He said that in contrast with other trials where a man stood trial for a partner’s murder, his client had not spun a yarn and set up a defence of self-defence or provocation. He has also not denied being there.
However, the prosecution pointed out that a person is presumed to intend the probable consequences of his actions and said that death was the probable consequence of tying a ligature around somebody’s neck and squeezing it.
Mr Justice Barry White has told of the jury that self-induced intoxication offered no defence. However he said that the effect of alcohol on the defendant’s capability of forming an intent had to be considered.
The nine men and three women of the jury took an hour and 20 minutes to reach a unanimous verdict of murder.
Mr Justice White remanded Daly in custody for sentencing on Friday, October 19, after the Ms Burroughs’ family has a chance to present a victim impact statement.