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Wednesday 20 February 2019

'Olivia's murderer got a jail term - but we got a life sentence' - family of woman still alive when killer boyfriend set fire to her home

Olivia Dunlea’s mother Ann (centre) with her sisters Anne (left) and Amanda. Photo: Michael MacSweeney/Provision
Olivia Dunlea’s mother Ann (centre) with her sisters Anne (left) and Amanda. Photo: Michael MacSweeney/Provision

Ralph Riegel

The family of a mother who was still alive when her killer set fire to her home has insisted murderer Darren Murphy was merely handed a prison term, but they are serving a life sentence.

Murphy (41), of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Cork, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury last week of the murder of Olivia Dunlea (36).

He was handed a mandatory life sentence.

Murphy had admitted the manslaughter but denied the murder of the mother of three, whose stabbed body was found in her burning home at Pembroke Crescent, Passage West, Co Cork, on February 17, 2013.

Ms Dunlea had been dating Murphy for only eight weeks before her death.

When Cork Fire Brigade members recovered her body, she had to be identified from dental records.

Ms Dunlea's three young children were not in the property that evening.

Her mother Ann and sister Anne have now spoken out to describe the "total nightmare" the family have endured over the past five years with Murphy standing trial three times before being convicted of murder.

"I was happy and sad," her mother said.

"At the end of the day, Olivia is still lost to us - we had to go through all of this? Five years - but we are happy with the verdict.

"But what is life [imprisonment]? Personally, I think the key should be thrown away - he should never come out again. He is a danger to society.

"Our lives have been standing still for the past five years. We are totally heartbroken without her. We got the life sentence. He got a prison term.

"Olivia was family orientated - her children were her world. They loved her so much."

Olivia's sister said they were heartbroken.

"Olivia was absolutely brilliant. Her door was always open to help anyone," she added.

Irish Independent

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