Saturday 25 November 2017

I might be evil, said man accused of beheading mum

Phyllis Dunleavy: rowed with son.
Phyllis Dunleavy: rowed with son.

Brian Horne

A MAN accused of beheading his mother and burying her in a shallow grave told a friend, "I might be evil".

James Dunleavy (40) -- who had been showing a keen interest in Islam -- told a friend that he had been hearing voices in his head and that the Koran would not protect him.

Shop manager Mohammed Razaq -- who used Dunleavy's bedroom to pray when he could not get to his local mosque -- told the High Court in Edinburgh of their conversations.

He said these took place just weeks before the dismembered remains of Dunleavy's mother, Phyllis Dunleavy, were found in secluded woodland.

Mr Razaq (40) said there was a bond between them "like brothers" and he had a set of keys for Dunleavy's flat, which was above a shop in Edinburgh's Balgreen Road.

He went on to tell how their friendship broke down soon after Mrs Dunleavy (66) came from her home in Marino, Dublin, to visit her son in late April last year.


Mr Razaq witnessed a conversation when Dunleavy was angry and agitated because his mother had split with his father and moved in with another man.

Dunleavy claimed she had been "brainwashed" by a group of women he called "the witches".

"I was concerned I had left them in a state of not being friends," said Mr Razaq.

When he tried to visit again the following evening, Dunleavy would not let him in. "I put the key into the door of the house. I had opened the door barely a foot and James stood in the house and blocked it with his foot."

Mr Razaq told the trial that Dunleavy said: "My mum is not well. She is sleeping. You cannot come in tonight."

The shop manager continued: "He had never done that before. I was taken aback, slightly upset."

He added that Dunleavy looked as though he had not slept: "It was odd to me. His appearance is normally smart, but he looked very dishevelled."

The trial heard that Dunleavy even turned down an invitation to a Muslim wedding in Dundee, claiming he was looking after his mother.

Mr Razaq was then told that Mrs Dunleavy had returned to Dublin -- without saying goodbye to her son.

Dunleavy came into his shop one evening and stayed, talking, until closing time.

"His opening comment to me was: 'I might be evil. I might be hearing voices in my head'."

Mr Razaq said: "My reply was, 'that is the Devil in your head, talking to you. Keep the Koran beside yourself to protect yourself', and he said, 'that does not work'."

Dunleavy also told him: "Soon your faith will be tested", but did not explain what he meant, the court heard.

Mr Razaq said his last meeting with Dunleavy was at the mosque when Dunleavy refused to shake his hand and Mr Razaq returned his keys.

Mr Razaq agreed with the defence lawyer that although there had been "a lively discussion" between Dunleavy and his mother about her marriage break-up, there had been no threat of violence.

Earlier the trial heard how Mrs Dunleavy may have been given "a Christian burial" on Edinburgh's Corstorphine Hill.

Dr Jennifer Miller described how Mrs Dunleavy's remains had been unearthed. "Everything was facing east," she said.

"In an archeological context that would suggest a Christian burial. It is facing the rising sun."

James Dunleavy -- also known as Seamus Dunleavy -- denies battering his mother to death between April 30 and May 7 last year.

He also denies trying to cover up the alleged murder by destroying evidence.

The murder charge alleges that Dunleavy put his mother's torso, severed legs and head into a suitcase and took the dismembered body to Corstorphine Hill where he buried her.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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