Man confesses to stabbing ex-partner at murder trial


AVRIL FLANAGAN’S alleged killer apologised to her family yesterday moments after dramatically confessing in court he had stabbed his ex-girlfriend nearly 50 times.

Murder suspect Alan Daulby put up a wall of silence for more than three years and blamed her death on a mystery intruder at the trial opening on Monday as he claimed he remembered next to nothing about the day she died.

However, he admitted to the brutal killing, on May 29th, 2009, after hearing a string of witnesses including his own father and sister give evidence against him.

Seconds later, he used a last address to the court to say sorry to the Irish bar-worker’s parents and two brothers.

“I just want to express how sorry I am to the family,” he said.

“I will never know how this happened. I have to live for the rest of my life with what’s happened. I’m sorry for this ever getting so far.”

Avril’s father, Gerry, a former Dublin Bus engineer, and her older brother Ger (28), remained impassive at the back of the court as he spoke.

The jury of eight men and one woman were told they could start deliberating on their verdict today.

Daulby’s defence lawyer, Francisco Franco, told them he still wanted them to acquit his client because he was deluded into thinking Avril was an intruder through drink, drugs and paranoia sparked by a row with her family the previous weekend.

He told them: “We ask for Alan’s acquittal because he didn’t think it was Avril and believed it was another person coming after him.

“If you consider he was conscious it was Avril, I understand it’s been demonstrated he was acting under the influence of drinks and drugs.”

The third day of Daulby’s murder trial at a court in Elche, Spain, started with graphic testimony from forensic experts about the attack Avril had suffered.

She was killed at about 10am on May 29th after going to the flat the couple had shared in the Costa Blanca resort of Cabo Roig before splitting up the previous week.

Daulby’s father, Alan snr, found her body wrapped in plastic under a sofa in the apartment after her mother, Barbara, reported her missing. Barbara and her daughter were due to travel back to Ireland later that day for Avril’s 21st birthday.

Daulby (26), from Liverpool, was arrested 200km away later that day after allegedly trying to dispose of evidence linking him to the crime and going on the run.

Police had told the court earlier in the week that Avril, originally from Swords, Co Dublin, had been stabbed 53 times.

Forensics experts said yesterday they counted 47 stab wounds to her neck, chest, arms and legs, all inflicted with a kitchen knife before she died.

One, Salvador Giner, said: “Twenty eight of the wounds were superficial, and 19 penetrated her skin. Eight cost Avril her life, including one to her armpit that affected her vascular system causing massive blood loss. All the wounds she suffered were premortem.”

Psychiatrists gave evidence by video conference stating Daulby showed no signs of mental illness when they examined him.

A police officer who was not named for security reasons said Daulby crashed his van in an orchard during a chase before trying to flee on foot.

Daulby allegedly showered and tried to burn the murder weapon after a clean-up of the flat where Avril was killed.

State prosecutor Pablo Romero told the jury he wanted Daulby convicted of murder and sentenced to the maximum of 20 years which Spanish law allows, despite his confession. He said: “It’s been proven in our view that Alan Daulby consciously and deliberately increased Avril’s pain and suffering.”

Jose Carlos Munoz, a private prosecutor acting for Avril’s family, blamed the killing on Daulby’s failure to accept the couple’s break-up.

Insisting there was no proof Daulby was drunk or on drugs on the day of the killing and pointing out witnesses had declared him sober, he added: “They say your life flashes before you in a second when you die. Unfortunately, Avril’s flashed before her during the time Daulby took to stab her 47 times.”