Saturday 14 December 2019

Murder accused told gardai he stabbed woman 'at the back of the neck' before setting her home on fire

Darren Murphy (37) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Olivia Dunlea (36)

A murder trial has heard that the accused man told gardai he stabbed the deceased ‘at the back of the neck’ before he set her home on fire.

Darren Murphy (37) of Dan Desmond Village, Passage West, Co Cork pleaded not guilty to the murder of Olivia Dunlea (36) on February 17 2013 but admitted to manslaughter.

The accused has pleaded guilty to a second charge of arson on the deceased woman's home at Pembroke Crescent, Passage West in Cork.

Lead by Paul Carroll BL prosecuting, Garda Sean Minnihan confirmed that the accused told gardai he had stabbed Ms Dunlea at the back of the neck.

The court heard that the accused had left the pub with Ms Dunlea before midnight and that they had been ‘getting on great’.

‘We were laughing and joking for the whole night,’ he told gardai.

However, according to Mr Murphy's statement to gardaí, Ms Dunlea asked the accused to leave her home, the court heard.

The court heard that the deceased had thrown her car keys at the accused and told him ‘get out’.

‘I asked her to talk to me and she said “I thought I told you to leave”. She took off her clothes, lay down on the bed and when I asked her what she was doing, she said “what do you think? 'Fás' is calling, get out.”

The court heard that the accused had knelt over her, grabbed her head and stuck it in the pillow. He told gardai ‘I grabbed the knife and stuck it into her’.

‘I just leaned with whatever I had on top of her. I had my knees on either side on top of her. I remember it (knife) was there. I don’t know why, I just grabbed it.' 

The court heard that the accused stabbed Ms Dunlea twice.

‘My head was racing and heart was pounding. It (knife) was no sooner in my hands than it was in her neck

‘I took her lighter, lit the quilt on fire, went downstairs and lit the kitchen roll on fire and left.’

When asked by gardai if he had been trying to conceal what had happened, the accused said ‘no, I knew I was going to get caught. I just didn’t want the kids to see her.’

The court heard that the accused had previously been admitted to a psychiatric unit following attempted suicide.

The trial continues before a jury of 7 men and 5 women with Mr Justice Paul Carney presiding.

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