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Killer 'used car as a weapon' to crush taxi man

The prosecution in a Dublin murder trial has told the jury that the accused used her car as the weapon that killed a 66-year-old father-of-four in his son's driveway.

Patrick Gageby was making his opening speech in the trial of a 25-year-old Dublin woman, who has admitted killing the taxi driver in Blanchardstown almost four years ago.

Claire Nolan, of Sheephill Green in Blanchardstown, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Michael Duffy on January 26, 2008, when she was 21.

However, she has pleaded guilty to his manslaughter on Wellview Grove in Blanchardstown. The State has not accepted her plea and she is now on trial before a jury at the Central Criminal Court.



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Mr Gageby told the jury that Ms Nolan was perhaps using her car against the victim's son, Francis 'Fran' Duffy, but succeeded in killing Mr Duffy Snr.

"He died of a crush injury to the chest," he said.

He said she drove her car into the deceased, crushing him and causing him to immediately collapse. He died before he arrived at hospital, he said.

"Claire Nolan extracted her little car, zoomed off and that car was found burnt out later," he concluded.

Fran Duffy's next-door neighbour, Josephine Cunningham, said Nolan was visiting her daughter, Maria Cunningham, on the evening of January 25. Nolan's small car was parked in her driveway.

Mrs Cunningham said she was upstairs in her bedroom when she heard a bang outside. She looked out but saw nothing.

"As I was closing my window, I heard Maria saying to Claire that there was something wrong with her car because she seen Fran getting over the railings," she testified, referring to her next-door neighbour and son of the deceased, Fran Duffy.

She said she went downstairs but Nolan was already outside. She said her daughter was trying to push her (Mrs Cunningham) back, telling her that it wasn't her argument.

She said the accused and Fran Duffy were 'having a verbal' in his garden, with Nolan asking him where her radio was and him denying taking anything.

"She was very annoyed," she said. "She hit him then with a baseball bat," she continued. "She hit Fran on the head with it ... a few times ... There was blood coming out of his head."

Mrs Cunningham said she ran upstairs and called an ambulance, while Mr Duffy rang his father.

She said she then went into her kitchen and cleaned up 'blood from the bat' and was upstairs again when she saw Nolan drive her car out of her drive.

"Then it drove into Fran's house. It broke the gate. I think the gates were closed," she said.

"It revved back out and back in again," she said.

She said the deceased was standing near his son's door.

"Then the car came for him. The car went forward to him," she said. "I think it either crashed into him or what."



Lies

"I came back down and saw Mr Duffy (Snr) on the ground and his head bleeding," she said.

However she later agreed with Brendan Grehan, defending, that she had not seen the deceased before she came downstairs and saw him lying on the ground.

She also agreed that the blood in her kitchen had actually come from Claire Nolan and another of her daughter's guests, who were bleeding after the earlier incident.

"I'm sorry for telling lies," she said.

The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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