Tuesday 12 December 2017

Murder accused started crying and admitted stabbing his deceased partner

Olivia Dunlea O'Brien from Passage West, Co Cork
Olivia Dunlea O'Brien from Passage West, Co Cork

Eoin Reynolds

A murder accused started crying and admitted to stabbing his partner when gardai confronted him about inconsistencies in what he had told them.

Darren Murphy of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Olivia Dunlea (36) at Pembroke Crescent, Passage West, Co Cork on February 17, 2013. He has pleaded guilty to her manslaughter but his plea was not accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sergeant Anthony Harrington told prosecuting counsel Thomas Creed SC that he took a statement from Mr Murphy the day after Ms Dunlea's body was found inside her burning home.

Mr Murphy told gardai that he had been out for between seven to ten pints with Olivia in the Rochestown Inn. When they went to Olivia's house they had a "heated" row so he went home.

He said he was woken up by a phone call from Olivia's sister saying that Olivia's house was on fire so he jumped out of bed and rushed over.

After the interview Mr Murphy handed over clothes to Sgt Harrington which he said he had been wearing the previous night. When gardai checked CCTV footage from the Rochestown Inn they noticed that the clothes did not match.

Sgt Harrington, Det Sgt Tim Murphy and now retired former Sgt David Treacy went to Mr Murphy's house to ask him about the inconsistency. Det Sgt Murphy told the court that Mr Murphy at first said that he had made a mistake, and the clothes he had been wearing were upstairs.

When Sgt Harrington asked why he had handed over the wrong clothes he began to cry and said: "We had a massive row." He told gardai he "snapped" after she told him to go home because another man was coming to see her.

"I grabbed a knife from beside the bed," he said, adding that he thought he could remember stabbing her twice.

The trial continues this afternoon in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.

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