A man who admits stabbing his girlfriend, but denies her murder, told gardaí she asked, “what about my kids?” before he stuck a knife in her neck.
Darren Murphy (40) of Dan Desmond Villas in Passage West, Co Cork has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Olivia Dunlea at her home in Pembroke Crescent, but pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.
His plea was not accepted and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Det Garda Seán Minihan on Wednesday told prosecuting counsel Thomas Creed SC that he interviewed Murphy at Togher Garda Station on February 18th, 2013 – the day after Ms Dunlea's body was found by fire fighters inside her burning home.
During one of those interviews, the accused said he was out with Olivia in the Rochestown Inn that night, but they started arguing on the way home. He was upset because she had called for a taxi driver that Mr Murphy knew she had slept with before and she laughed at him when he confronted her about it.
The argument continued into the house where Mr Murphy said Ms Dunlea threw his car keys at him and told him to get out. Then she started taking her clothes off and when he asked her what she was doing she told him to leave because another man was coming over.
The accused said she was laying down on the bed when she said this and he knelt down on top of her, grabbed her head and stuck it in to the pillow. “She said, ‘what about my kids?’ and that’s when I grabbed the knife and stuck it in her.”
Gardaí asked if she struggled and he replied: “For a small bit. After I twisted her head she more or less stopped.”
He said he could remember stabbing her twice in the neck and that he knew she was dead when he lifted her head off the pillow and she made no noise.
When gardaí put it to him that a post mortem showed she had been stabbed six times he admitted that he must have inflicted the wounds, although he couldn’t remember. He said his head was racing at the time and said several times that he “just snapped”.
When gardaí asked him what he wanted to do when he picked up the knife, he said: “I didn’t want to do anything with it. It was no sooner in my hand than I was stabbing her with it.”
In another interview he told Sgt Anthony Harrington: “It just happened so fast, I couldn’t believe I was doing it.”
He said the knife he used was beside her bed and that she had kept a knife beside the bed as long as he had known her. During another interview he said he wanted to say sorry and that he didn’t mean to kill her, adding: “I would do anything to take it back.”
He denied that he set the house on fire to destroy evidence, telling gardaí that he knew he would be caught and lit the fire to make sure that Olivia’s children did not discover her body.
Under cross examination by Michael Delaney SC for the defence, Sgt Harrington said it was “absolutely not” true that he had refused to allow Mr Murphy access to a solicitor for his fifth interview and had told Mr Murphy what to say in that interview.
Sgt Harrington said he had no explanation as to why gardaí did not begin that interview by asking Mr Murphy if he was happy to proceed, which is normal protocol in such interviews, but denied that it was because he knew Mr Murphy did not want to proceed.
The trial continues on Thursday in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of seven men and five women.