Daniel Murtagh found guilty of murdering Nadine Lott

Accused (34) to receive life sentence for killing mother of one in her Arklow home in December 2019

Nadine Lott (30) died from injuries sustained in an attack by her former boyfriend Daniel Murtagh at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow, on December 17th, 2019

Nadine Lott (30) died from injuries sustained in an attack by her former boyfriend Daniel Murtagh at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow, on December 17th, 2019

 

A man who beat his former partner to a point where she was “completely unrecognisable” and left her with “grotesque” injuries from which she never recovered, has been found guilty of her murder.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court took five hours and 46 minutes over two days to unanimously reject Daniel Murtagh’s defence that he was too intoxicated to have formed the intent to murder Nadine Lott in Arklow, Co Wicklow in December 2019.

His counsel had sought a manslaughter verdict in the case, arguing that the “bloodbath” would never have happened “but for the drink and drugs” Murtagh had consumed on the night.

The accused told gardaí that before assaulting Ms Lott he smoked a joint, took two pills and drank a shoulder of Captain Morgan rum straight. He also said he had been on methadone for the previous three months.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath had told the jury to decide whether the prosecution had proven beyond a reasonable doubt “that despite the accused’s intoxication he had formed the intent to kill or cause serious injury to Nadine”.

Instead, the jury accepted the State’s case that Ms Lott’s death was a case of murder and “nothing short of murder”.

‘Clearest intent’

In his closing speech, prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC argued there was no defence of intoxication and that Murtagh had the “clearest intent” when he inflicted the “most dreadful blunt trauma injuries” to the beauty therapist.

“Just look at what the accused didn’t do and what he never tried to do, he never raised a hand to get Nadine any kind of help,” he said.

Daniel Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has been found guilty of the murder of his 30-year-old former partner Nadine Lott at her apartment in Co Wicklow in December 2019.
Daniel Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has been found guilty of the murder of his 30-year-old former partner Nadine Lott at her apartment in Co Wicklow in December 2019.

Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, had pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Lott (30) at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow. The attack happened on December 14th, 2019 and Ms Lott never regained consciousness and died on December 17th in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

An eyewitness, Ms Lott’s neighbour, told the trial that Murtagh made a “growling noise” and was “vicious with rage” as he inflicted blows on his ex-partner in her living room “like a wild animal”.

Amela Kulenovic found the defendant “in a crouched position” on top of Ms Lott with his hands around her neck and shoulders. She said he was “going ape on” his former partner and was “totally out of control”.

Ms Lott’s mother, Claire Lott, told the court that she found her daughter on her back in her kitchen gurgling and gasping for air.

“I couldn’t recognise her face, I couldn’t recognise it was Nadine,” she said.

Swollen

Evidence was also given that a garda who phoned ambulance control informed them that Ms Lott had been “beaten to a pulp”.

Garda Linda Butler said the left side of Ms Lott’s face was “extremely and grotesquely swollen” and when she placed her fingers inside the patient’s mouth to clear her airways, she noticed some teeth were missing.

A paramedic who attended to the mother-of-one in her home testified that the scene he witnessed in Ms Lott’s house would “haunt” him for the rest of his career and was one of the most “horrendous” he had ever walked into.

Ian Clarke said it was like a “bulldozer” had gone through Ms Lott’s apartment and described kneeling on broken glass as he performed CPR on her.

An intensive care nurse at the hospital described Ms Lott as “completely unrecognisable” and said she had never seen anybody so badly injured.

“Her mum brought in a photo of her and everyone kept saying ‘who is that’ and I said: ‘that’s her’,” Leah Grant said.

The trial heard Ms Lott died after suffering “traumatic head, neck and chest injuries” and her brain was swollen following the “sustained and violent attack”.

Chief State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan noted that the blunt force injuries were caused by hands, fists or feet and that the use of a blunt weapon could not be ruled out. The court heard there were 64 individual injuries observed all over Ms Lott’s body which could not be accounted for through medical intervention.

Careful consideration

Following Thursday’s verdict, Mr Justice MacGrath thanked the jury of seven men and five women for the care and careful consideration they had given the case.

“You were all very attentive during the trial. You perform an important civic duty and it is very important that non-lawyers are involved in this process,” he said as he exempted the panel from jury service for 10 years.

(Left to right) Claire Lott, Tanith Lott and Phoebe Lott, Nadine Lott’s mother and sisters, are pictured with other family members and friends outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin following Daniel Murtagh’s conviction for Nadine’s murder. Photograph: Collins Courts.
(Left to right) Claire Lott, Tanith Lott and Phoebe Lott, Nadine Lott’s mother and sisters, are pictured with other family members and friends outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin following Daniel Murtagh’s conviction for Nadine’s murder. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Murtagh will receive a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on October 4th. On that date, the Lott family will have an opportunity to make a statement to the court about the impact of Nadine’s death on their lives.

Murtagh showed little reaction following the verdict while members of the Lott family, who filled an entire bench in the courtroom, hugged and comforted one another.

The trial heard that around two weeks before Murtagh killed Ms Lott, she told him not to “threaten” her and that “nothing is ever going to happen between us again, I want to make that clear”.

When Murtagh was later arrested and placed in a patrol car on the morning of the attack, the accused told the officer it was “a domestic” but that he really loved Ms Lott.

“Answer me this, is she still alive? Tell me is she still alive?” he asked gardaí.

In his first interview with gardaí, Murtagh said he was intoxicated at the time of the assault and he could not remember anything.

In a subsequent interview, he said he had given her a “soft slap”, before telling gardaí he had “obviously hit her a few slaps”. It was the first time he had ever hit her, he said, and insisted.

“I had no intention to ever hurt her,” he said.

Knuckles

Murtagh later told detectives that he gave Ms Lott “six or seven hard digs” but did not “go to town” on her. However, he eventually said he was “pounding” Ms Lott with his hands and “punching like mad”. He told gardaí that if he had wanted to kill her, he would have.

Demonstrating to gardaí how he delivered punches as the beautician lay on the ground, the defendant said he had boxed “for years” and his knuckles were “well-conditioned”.

However, it was not until his fourth and final interview that he explained that he had held a charger for a tyre pump in his hand for solidity and had “wrapped” the wire around his knuckles as he beat Ms Lott. He also accepted he might have used the cigarette-type charger “in a hammer action” on the “helpless woman”.

When asked in an interview why he hit Ms Lott, Murtagh had at one point replied: “No reason, absolutely no reason guard, I’m going to pray every night. I just snapped, I don’t know. I never hit a girl in my life.”

However, he also later told gardaí: “I know she was with a lad in Arklow and I was trying to get it out of her.”

Murtagh fled the apartment after the attack, driving away in his Volvo car. At about 7am the same morning, some 31km away from Ms Lott’s apartment, Murtagh crashed his car into a ditch in Laragh.

The now convicted murderer told a motorist who stopped to help him that he had “killed my wife because she was with my friend”.

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