Monday 22 January 2018

I didn't mean to squash him, murder trial told

Lonn Paul

A WOMAN on trial for murdering a retired taxi driver told gardai she was trying to "get" his son with her car when the victim jumped in front of her and she ended up "squashing" him.

Claire Nolan (23) confessed to officers that she drove her car at 20 miles an hour into the driveway of the home of Francis Duffy (66) at Well View Grove in Blanchardstown in Dublin.

She said in garda statements that she did it "just to scare" Mr Duffy's son after he was seen trying to steal the radio from her new Nissan Micra. She said she couldn't keep her temper under control when she was drunk and had "lost it" and wanted to hit Fran and wreck his house.

But she hadn't meant to hurt or kill anyone, she said. "I went into the garden to get Fran and the man got in the way ... I didn't mean to kill anyone.

"I hadn't got it in my head that I was going to knock Fran down, I just wanted to fly in and scare him ... it was an accident, I apologise," she said.

Ms Nolan, of Sheephill Green, Blanchardstown, denies murdering Michael Duffy in the driveway of his son's home on January 26, 2008 but admits to his manslaughter.


Mr Duffy's spine was broken, his spinal cord severed and part of his heart and liver crushed after he was struck by the car.

The court heard the accused could have taken 10 or 15 sleeping tablets on the day in question, and had spent the evening drinking wine with three friends in the house next door to Francis Duffy's home.

She said she may have also taken cocaine, and kept getting blackouts about the night.

A row broke out, there was "screaming and shouting" and Fran rang his father, Michael Duffy shortly after 1am. Mr Duffy then drove to the scene.

She said she had no idea Mr Duffy Snr was there when she drove into Fran's driveway. It was put to her by detectives that she had been trying to knock Fran down.

"Not his father, just Fran. He was after sticking a knife in my hand the f***ing w***er ... that's when I went mental," she said.

She said she did remember the car hitting Michael Duffy. "I ended up squashing the man, I didn't mean to squash him. I don't know what I meant to do, I couldn't stop ... I couldn't brake ... and I ended up squashing the man.

"It was a freak accident, I apologise." She denied to gardai that she had set fire to her car, which was found burnt out a short time after the incident. The case continues on Monday.

Irish Independent

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