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Murder jury told to acquit OAP if it was self-defence


Accused Desmond Duffy

Accused Desmond Duffy

Accused Desmond Duffy

A pensioner accused of murdering his partner must be acquitted if he was acting in self-defence after suffering years of violence and abuse, his barrister has told the Central Criminal Court.

Caroline Biggs delivered her closing speech to the jury of six men and six women in the trial of Desmond 'Des' Duffy (70), who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Desmond 'Dessie' Sullivan (59) at the home they shared in Somerville Park, Rathmines, on May 23, 2016.

Ms Biggs said the jury can find Mr Duffy guilty of murder, not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, or they can acquit him.


Detailing more than 30 years of abuse and violence at Mr Sullivan's hands, she described Mr Duffy as a 70-year-old gentleman who had never once raised a hand to anyone before that night when he was being verbally abused and repeatedly punched by Mr Sullivan.

Counsel further asked the jury to consider that the evidence of witnesses and State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy backed what Mr Duffy said in garda interviews about his years of abuse, the assault on the night and how, in self- defence, he used the fingers and thumb of his right hand to apply pressure to Mr Sullivan's neck, causing him to collapse.

Prosecution counsel Conor Devally said that if the jury looks at Mr Duffy's description of what happened, it will see that he was being taunted, became angry and decided he was going to take a stand.

He applied enough pressure to Mr Sullivan's neck to snap the cartilage above the Adam's apple.

He could, Mr Devally said, have easily walked away, but instead he pushed back and "squeezed" Mr Sullivan's neck.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott will continue his charge to the jury on Monday.