Nadine Lott’s death a case of murder and ‘nothing short of murder’, trial told

Defence asks jurors to exclude sympathy for deceased and antipathy for Daniel Murtagh from deliberations

Daniel Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Nadine Lott (30) at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th, 2019.

Daniel Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Nadine Lott (30) at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th, 2019.

 

A man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Nadine Lott inflicted “the most appalling and dreadful” injuries to the beauty therapist’s face, a prosecution barrister has told a jury at the Central Criminal Court.

John O’Kelly SC, prosecuting, gave his closing speech on Friday in the trial of Daniel Murtagh and insisted this was a case of murder and “nothing short of murder”.

“There is the clearest intent, 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.

However, Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Murtagh, submitted that his client’s intent was the “main battleground” in the case. He asked the jury to consider Mr Murtagh’s level of intoxication that night as the “bloodbath” would not have happened “but for the drink and drugs” he had consumed.

Mr Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Lott (30) at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th, 2019. His plea was not accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The jury has heard that Ms Lott suffered “severe blunt force trauma” and stab injuries at the hands of Mr Murtagh “in a sustained and violent attack”. The injuries were so serious that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, the court has heard.

Addressing the jury, Mr O’Kelly said there was very limited evidence of what actually happened on the night of December 17th and a jury can often be left with an accused’s account as the victim is not around to give her version of events.

‘Terrifying

Counsel said Ms Lott’s neighbour, Amela Kulenovic, had walked in while Mr Murtagh was attacking her friend and saw him “exerting his weight and putting tremendous pressure” on Ms Lott as she lay on the ground.

“With great courage she went into the apartment and saw the terrifying and appalling scene of Nadine being murdered by Mr Murtagh,” he added.

Ms Kulenovic told gardaí that Mr Murtagh made a “growling noise” and was “vicious with rage” as he inflicted blows on Ms Lott “like a wild animal”.

The lawyer drew the jury’s attention to the 64 individual injuries found by the pathologist on Ms Lott’s body.

“They consisted of the most appalling blunt trauma injuries to her face that had separated the flesh from the underlying structures, they were so dreadful,” he said. He said her jaw was fractured in two places, she had a severe brain injury and a stabbing injury was inflicted above her Adam’s apple.

Furthermore, Mr O’Kelly said the accused had begun his interviews with gardaí by saying that he remembered nothing and gradually got to the point where he admitted slapping Ms Lott.

He then expanded on his account and said he gave Ms Lott five or six slaps and some of the latter ones were delivered with more force. At one stage, the accused told gardaí that he broke his hand, the court heard.

Counsel stressed that it was only in the fourth interview where the accused described repeatedly “beating downwards on this helpless woman”, who was lying injured on the ground.

He kept saying that he only used his hands until he finally admitted holding a charger from a tyre pump in his fist and wrapping a wire around his hand as he “beat down” on Ms Lott, he said.

Jealousy

Mr O’Kelly told the jurors that the accused had carried out a “vicious and sustained attack” which was fuelled by anger, drink, drugs and jealousy.

The jury has heard that just under two weeks before Ms Lott’s was killed by Mr Murtagh, she told him not to “threaten” her and that “nothing is ever going to happen between us again, I want to make that clear”.

Counsel suggested to the jury that beating a defenceless person and putting them in a coma from which they did not recover can “never be justified on any basis whether it’s drink, drugs or some perverse archaic male view of control which they have over their partners”.

Mr O’Kelly submitted that the accused was very determined to get out of Ms Lott’s apartment quickly on the night and “did not raise a hand to help the woman whom he said he loved”.

Instead, the barrister said, he drove from Arklow to Laragh “popping pills”, playing loud music and not thinking of the person he had “just destroyed”.

In his closing speech, Mr Grehan SC called the case “tragic and awful” and said it was “difficult for all involved”, particularly for the Lott family.

Sympathy and antipathy

Counsel suggested to the jury that it was very understandable if they had incredible sympathy for the deceased and her family and it was “entirely understandable” if they had “incredible antipathy” for the accused for what he did. However, he said antipathy and sympathy should have no place in their deliberations.

The barrister submitted that the “preponderance” of the evidence suggested that Ms Lott suffered a violent assault with his fists rather than with a weapon, which he called significant in terms of the evidence the jury had to consider. He said if somebody uses a weapon to attack then it is very easy to see an intent for murder.

He submitted that his client maintained the event had “happened out of the blue” and he had “no recollection” of doing “appalling damage” to Ms Lott with his hands.

A curiosity in the case, Mr Grehan said, was that his client had no recollection of seeing Ms Kulenovic in the sitting room that night. “Perhaps intoxication is the only explanation why he can’t remember these things,” he added.

Referring to Mr Murtagh’s utterances in his garda interviews, Mr Grehan called them unvarnished, at times crude and unfiltered through any prism of political correctness.

He also said they were insensitive and that the accused’s demonstrations of how he punched Ms Lott with a charger from the tyre pump was “almost revolting”.

He said his client was pitiful of himself and delusional in his thinking believing that he and Ms Lott had a future together and she could be his possible wife.

In addition, Mr Grehan said the accused insisted that he did not intend to kill or seriously injure Ms Lott and told gardaí that “if he did want to kill her he would have”.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath will begin charging the jury on Tuesday before they commence their deliberations.