Court is told gardai twisted the answers of murder accused


A man accused of the murder of his wife in 1996 said he would not tell the truth "just yet", Garda witnesses claimed yesterday in the Central Criminal Court.

The man's counsel says gardai twisted comments he made in custody and that he was "hounded" by detectives investigating the murder.

The evidence was heard on the 10th day of the trial of Mr David Murphy (36), of Munster Street, Phibsboro, who has denied the murder of his wife, Patricia Murphy (33) between May 27th and May 28th 1996, both dates inclusive, within the State. The couple and their four children lived in a rented house on Griffith Avenue in Dublin.

Det Sgt Thomas McCarrick told the court that when he went to Mr Murphy's house on June 6th, 1996 and told him he was arresting him for the murder of his wife, he replied: "I didn't do it."

When he was taken to the Garda station and interviewed by the detective at 11:36 a.m., Mr Murphy was asked why he killed his wife. "You tell me how I did it, and I will tell you why," he allegedly said. Det Sgt McCarrick said he told Mr Murphy "this is not a game".

Later that evening, Det Supt William Ryan extended the detention period under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 for another six hours.

At 7:50 p.m., the accused was shown clothes taken from the Tolka River in the presence of his father Mr Anthony Murphy Snr and his sister and brother-in-law.

He identified the clothing taken from a plastic bag found in the river as his and his wife's. Asked how the clothing came to be together in one bag the day after she went missing, he said "I don't know."

The witness went on to allege that in another interview, Det Sgt Noel Vizzard asked the accused "Are you going to tell us the truth?" Det Sgt McCarrick said Mr Murphy shook his head and said "No".

The following day, June 7th, 1996, the witness said he was on duty at Santry station when the accused, who had been released from custody the night before, came and asked for him.

Det Sgt McCarrick said he brought Mr Murphy to an office where he refused a chair and sat on his hunkers against the wall.

In a conversation which he recorded in a memo, he said to Mr Murphy wouldn't it be great if he could turn the clock back to moments before he killed his wife. "Yes, but I can't," Mr Murphy allegedly said in reply.

Det Sgt McCarrick said Mr Murphy went on to tell him that "he would tell me about it when he came back".

"Give me 20 minutes," the accused allegedly said, before leaving the station. When he returned 20 minutes later he asked to see his children and they "came in and kissed their daddy" and then asked "if they could go back to the girls" - the two gardai who were minding them. Shortly afterwards, Mr Murphy again left the station.

Det Gda McCarrick told Mr Brendan Grogan SC, defending, that at about midday on June 23rd, 1996, he was passing by Mr Murphy's home in the company of Det Garda Bridget Shelley and they decided to speak to him.

On Tuesday, September 3rd, 1996, the witness said he again arrested Mr Murphy on suspicion of murdering his wife, this time at a flat in Goldsmith Street, Phibsboro.

In the presence of Det Garda Shelley, he interviewed the accused in Whitehall Garda station shortly after 8:30 a.m.

In that interview, he was asked had he told anyone the truth since May 27th. "No, I can't talk to anyone. I just carry it all myself," he is alleged to have said.

After a private interview with his solicitor, he was again asked, "`What about the murder?"

"I will be done for it," Mr Murphy replied. He was asked was he going to tell them he did it. "I am not telling anything," he replied. Are you going to tell the truth, Det McCarrick asked. "No," Mr Murphy allegedly said.

Det Garda Shelley and Det Sgt McCarrick alleged that Mr Murphy went on to say he had gone out "by the water" to try to sort out a few things. "I sat and looked at the water and decided I am not going to kill myself and that is all I decided," he allegedly told gardai.

Asked was he going to tell the truth about the murder, his alleged response was, "I am not telling the truth just yet."

He was asked when he was going to tell the truth. "When the time is right," he allegedly said. Questioned further, he allegedly said "I don't know, it's if they ever want to see me."

On behalf of Mr Murphy, Mr Brendan Grogan put it to Det Sgt McCarrick it was quite clear he believed Mr Murphy was guilty. "That was my belief," the witness agreed.

Mr Grogan said his client had made the remark "You tell me how I did it and I'll tell you why" as a denial, not as an admission. Det Sgt McCarrick said he would not accept it was a denial.

Det Sgt McCarrick agreed with Mr Grogan that in one interview Mr Murphy said "I didn't hit her on the head. I would not do that in front of the child."

The witness denied that on June 23rd he had "barged into" Mr Murphy's house and told him to "stick on the kettle".

He said he would not consider himself "forceful". He also denied that answers the accused gave to Garda questions were twisted to give a different impression.

He did not accept that he "hounded" Mr Murphy, as the defence alleged.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Cyril Kelly and the jury.