Saturday 24 August 2019

New trial for murder accused

Drogheda woman Paula Farrell has been remanded in custody until October 21st after a jury failed to reach a verdict in her murder trial last week.

The 46-year-old had been on trial at the Central Criminal Court charged with murdering her boyfriend, 30-year-old Wayne McQuillan, at her home on New Year's morning five years ago.

Ms Farrell, who says she was sexually abused as a child, had asked for a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds that the deceased had provoked her by allegedly raping and trying to strangle her.

The prosecutor said that the mother-of-three had told a "big lie" about being raped by the deceased before killing him. Mr Gerard Clarke SC also said that the accused was using child sex abuse as an excuse for murder, but the defence stated that this was never the case.

Ms Farrell, of Rathmullen Park in Drogheda, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Wayne McQuillan, but guilty to his manslaughter at that address on 1st January 2014. She admitted stabbing him four times.

She testified that the deceased had tried to have sex with her, that she hadn't wanted to have sex, and that he had started strangling her before she went to the kitchen for a knife.

A forensic psychiatrist stated that Farrell had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of child abuse at the time she killed him. Ms Farrell told another medic that, while the deceased was on top of her, she was thinking about what had happened to her as a child.

The trial also heard that the ambulance was so delayed that Mr McQuillan was eventually taken to hospital in the back of a garda car. The pathologist testified that, had he received prompt medical attention, 'there would be a reasonable expectation at least of survival'.

The eight women and four men of the jury spent more than four hours deliberating before handing in a note to Ms Justice Carmel Stewart, which prompted her to give them the option of reaching a majority verdict.

When they had still not reached a verdict after almost five hours in their room, the judge asked the foreperson if there was any purpose to them returning to their deliberations.

"No," she replied, shaking her head.

Justice Stewart asked her to write 'Disagreed' on the issue paper and she did so.

She then remanded the accused in custody until 21st October, when her case will appear in the court's next list to fix trial dates.

Drogheda Independent