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Murder accused 'chose biggest knife to stab her partner', jury told

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Paula Farrell outside court. Photo: Court Collins

Paula Farrell outside court. Photo: Court Collins

Paula Farrell outside court. Photo: Court Collins

A prosecution barrister has told a jury it is "abundantly clear" that a mother of three intended to cause "at least serious injury" to her partner when she picked the biggest knife from a knife block and stabbed him four times with it.

In his closing address at the Central Criminal Court yesterday, counsel for the State Gerard Clarke SC noted that the prosecution did not have to prove an intention to kill and it was sufficient to prove an intention to cause serious injury.

Mr Clarke also said Paula Farrell's allegation that her partner sexually attacked her on the night was "an outrageous lie" told against a man who could not give any alternative account of events.

However, defence counsel Caroline Biggs SC submitted that her client is classified as "borderline intellectually disabled", and if there was a reasonable possibility that she had acted as a result of provocation, then the jury must find her not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Ms Farrell (47), of Rathmullen Park in Drogheda, Co Louth, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter for the unlawful killing of Wayne 'Quilly' McQuillan (30) at Ms Farrell's home on New Year's Day 2014.

The mother of three testified last week that Mr McQuillan had tried to have sex with her, that she did not want to have sex and that he had started strangling her with his hands before she went to the kitchen for a knife.

"I thought I was dying, I couldn't breathe," she told her barrister Ms Biggs.

Evidence has been given that Ms Farrell was sexually abused by a named man between seven and 14 years of age and that she started to drink heavily when she was 20.

The court has also heard from two psychiatrists that Ms Farrell was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol dependency at the time she stabbed her boyfriend to death.

Addressing the jury yesterday, Mr Clarke said Ms Farrell had chosen the "biggest knife in the knife block" and the natural consequences of this was that Mr McQuillan would be seriously injured.

Mr Clarke submitted in his closing speech that the defence will raise the partial defence of provocation, where one is not capable of controlling their actions and being a master of their mind.

"I remind you that Ms Farrell never said in her evidence, or to anyone in the six years since Mr McQuillan died, that she was in a state of total loss of control," he said.

Mr Clarke said the provocation relied on by the accused was that Mr McQuillan had sexually attacked her.

He called this "an outrageous lie" and said it had been told against a man who was now dead and could not give any alternative account of events.

Mr Clarke submitted that the account of a sexual attack taking place was first put forward by Ms Farrell 16 months after Mr McQuillan had died.

In her closing statement, Ms Biggs asked the jury to look at her client as a person with a mental illness, saying: "You must look if she lost self-control from her particular situation and decide if she was provoked. PTSD is relative to her subjective state of mind."

Mr Justice Paul McDermott will continuing charging the jury today.

Irish Independent