Wednesday 22 November 2017

Son tells trial he did not kill and chop up mother

Phyllis Dunleavy
Phyllis Dunleavy

Brian Horne

AN IRISH man accused of murdering his mother and chopping up her body told a court he was the last person to see her alive, but denied killing her and burying her body in a shallow grave.

Giving evidence for just over an hour, James Dunleavy (40) repeatedly insisted he loved his mother, Phyllis (66), who had been living with him before she vanished.

He also told a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh that he did not have mental health problems, and claimed doctors had been swayed by the serious charge he was facing.

He told how he believed she would turn up again after she left his Edinburgh flat without warning one morning.

Meanwhile, his father, James Dunleavy Snr (68), told the trial that his wife Phyllis was in the habit of "going walkabout" without saying where she was going.

At the start of his testimony the accused man was asked by defence counsel Gordon Jackson: "Did you do anything that would have caused the death of your mother?" Mr Dunleavy replied "No."

Asked if he was responsible for what happened to her before she got buried, again Dunleavy told him: "No".

Mr Jackson said three psychiatrists agreed Mr Dunleavy was suffering from some sort of mental disorder.

"I think the gravity of the crime I am accused of may have coloured their perception," Mr Dunleavy suggested, adding: "They are entitled to their opinion."

The trial heard that after growing up in Dublin, Mr Dunleavy moved to the Coventry and Birmingham area of England in about 1990.

He moved to Edinburgh to work on the construction of the city's tram lines.


Mr Dunleavy denied arguing with his mother just before she is believed to have died, saying a neighbour who had described hearing a row had misinterpreted "a wordy discussion" between them.

"We were just having a bit of banter, that's all," he insisted.

Asked if he was surprised by his mother's sudden departure, Mr Dunleavy said: "That was my mother's MO."

Alex Prentice, prosecuting, pointed out that when police searched his Balgreen Road flat they found €870, Mrs Dunleavy's identity card and clothing.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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