independent

Friday 18 April 2014

No proof man cut up mum's body, jury told

Phyllis Dunleavy

POLICE found no evidence that a man had cut up his mum's body despite doing "CSI in spades", a jury was told.

James Dunleavy (40) denies murdering 66-year-old mother of five Philomena, from Dublin, before dismembering her corpse and burying the remains in a shallow grave in an Edinburgh beauty spot.

In his closing speech at the High Court in Edinburgh, defence QC Gordon Jackson said Dunleavy had a very simple response to the prosecution case: "I never".

Mr Jackson continued: "Nothing could be simpler than that. He says, 'I didn't do any of it'.

"'I didn't kill her, I didn't harm her, I didn't do anything to her body and I did not bury her'."

The lawyer admitted that Dunleavy was "prime suspect" but told jurors that suspicion was not enough to convict.

Mr Jackson recalled how police and forensic scientists had given evidence about their thorough search of the flat in Balgreen Road where Mrs Dunleavy was staying with her son. "CSI in spades. They did it to the nth degree," he said.

They had used blood-revealing chemical Luminol, special lighting and taken up the flooring. "You could not imagine a more intense, detailed examination for something that might have been cleared up.

"What did they find? Nothing."

Mr Jackson went on to argue that even if the Crown could prove beyond reasonable doubt that Dunleavy buried his mother, they could not prove he killed her.

He also said that if the jury went against him, Dunleavy's mental state was such that the verdict should be guilty of a reduced charge of culpable homicide, not murder.

Earlier, Alex Prentice, prosecuting, began his closing speech to the jury by saying that Dunleavy had done "something bad".

Workmate Matthew Hagan (26) claims Dunleavy made the comment to him just days before his arrest.

Mr Prentice went on to tell the jury that the case against Dunleavy was a circumstantial one in which pieces of evidence came together like strands in a cable.

"This is a classic case of that type," said the prosecutor. "There will be some unanswered questions in this case, some unresolved issues."

Mr Prentice said one of the "loose ends" in the case was the account of a row between Dunleavy and his mother given by shopkeeper Mohammed Tariq Razaq.

QUESTION

The prosecutor said he was not suggesting Dunleavy did not love his mother but there was something going on between them, possibly because Mrs Dunleavy had a new man in her life. "There is something going on between son and mother and it is linked in some way to this relationship. That is all I can say."

He appealed to the jury to apply "common sense" to the question of what happened to Mrs Dunleavy.

Dunleavy -- also known as Seamus Dunleavy -- denies battering to death Philomena Dunleavy (66) of Marino, Dublin, between April 30 and May 7 last year.

He also denies attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to cover up the alleged murder and destroy evidence.

The jury are expected to be asked to begin considering their verdicts today.

Irish Independent

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