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Accused punched at wheel after wedding, murder trial jury told


Desmond ‘Des’ Duffy denies murdering Desmond Sullivan. Photo: Collins Courts

Desmond ‘Des’ Duffy denies murdering Desmond Sullivan. Photo: Collins Courts

Desmond ‘Des’ Duffy denies murdering Desmond Sullivan. Photo: Collins Courts

A 70-year-old man on trial accused of murdering his partner was "picked on" throughout their long relationship, a friend of the couple has told the Central Criminal Court.

The jury also heard that Desmond 'Des' Duffy was even punched repeatedly by Desmond 'Dessie' Sullivan (59) while driving home from a wedding.

Carmel Savage was called yesterday by the defence to give evidence in the trial of Mr Duffy, who has denied murdering Mr Sullivan at their home in Somerville Park, Rathmines, on May 23, 2016.

Ms Savage told defence counsel Caroline Biggs that she had known Mr Sullivan since she was a teenager.


She remembered him meeting Mr Duffy at a pub in the 1980s. The two men "really liked each other", she said, and started going out.

The witness described Mr Duffy as a "lovely, soft, quiet" man. He was well-educated and Mr Sullivan, who was more outgoing, looked up to him.

The first time she noticed anything wrong in their relationship was at her wedding in the mid-1980s when Mr Sullivan poured a pint over Mr Duffy's head, Ms Savage said.

On another occasion, at Mr Duffy's brother's funeral, she said Mr Sullivan put a basket of food on Mr Duffy's head.

She felt bad for Mr Duffy and offered to let him stay at her house that night.

Ms Savage said she knew he sometimes stayed in hotels when there was trouble with Mr Sullivan.

She said it was Mr Sullivan who would start the rows, and added: "Out of the blue, for no reason, he would pick on Desmond Duffy."

The accused, she said, would do nothing. "He would be the type to walk away," she added.

Mr Sullivan used to tell her of the problems in the relationship, she said, and he was embarrassed at the things that he did.

Ms Savage agreed with prosecution counsel Ronan Kennedy that these incidents typically involved alcohol, and Mr Sullivan was "mortified" when he was told he had dumped chips and sausages on Mr Duffy at his brother's funeral.

She further agreed that Mr Sullivan was good fun, generous, good craic and that they were good friends for 45 years.

Anne Quinlan told Ms Biggs that she was at Ms Savage's wedding in Killiney and spent much of the evening with Mr Duffy and Mr Sullivan.

She said she had a "good laugh" with the two of them and at the end of the night Mr Duffy offered to give her a lift back to Clondalkin, where she lived.

Ms Quinlan was in the back seat, with Mr Sullivan in the front passenger seat and Mr Duffy driving.

She could not remember what started it, but Mr Sullivan became "very agitated".

He turned to face Mr Duffy and started punching him in the face and screaming at him.

"It went on and on and on," she said.

Mr Duffy would slow down or stop the car and ask Mr Sullivan to stop and move on again.


Mr Sullivan kept hitting him in the head and upper body and screaming at him.

Ms Quinlan asked Mr Sullivan to stop and told him: "I have a five-year-old son. You are going to get us all killed."

At one point when they had stopped Mr Sullivan got out of the car and tried to get in the driver's side.

Ms Quinlan told Mr Duffy to lock the doors and drive on.

"I didn't want him back in the car," she said. "I just wanted to get home and get out of there."

Mr Sullivan got back in the passenger seat and they continued to Clondalkin.

Once out of the car, Ms Quinlan went to the local garda station, but by the time she came back with a garda Mr Duffy and Mr Sullivan were already gone.

The trial continues.