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Jury asks to see moment murder accused demonstrated stabbing to gardai

Olivia Dunlea
Olivia Dunlea

A jury has asked to see the moment a murder accused demonstrated to gardai how he stabbed his girlfriend while she lay face down on her bed.

Darren Murphy (40), of Dan Desmond Villas in Passage West, Co Cork, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Olivia Dunlea at her home in Pembroke Crescent on February 17, 2013. 

Mr Murphy pleaded guilty to her manslaughter and admitted that he stabbed her in the neck and set fire to her home. His plea was not accepted and a jury at the Central Criminal Court is considering their verdict at his trial.

During garda interviews, Mr Murphy demonstrated how the assault took place. The interviews were recorded by camera and after more than two hours of deliberations, the jury asked to see the footage again.

The jury also asked Justice Patrick McCarthy to repeat the definition of provocation. Justice McCarthy explained that if the jury is satisfied that Mr Murphy intended to kill or cause serious injury to Ms Dunlea, they must then consider whether he was provoked by the conduct or words of the deceased.

He explained that for provocation to be used as a legal defence, the accused must have suffered a total loss of self control, adding that it should be a "sudden and unforeseen onset of passion which at the time totally deprives the accused of his self control."

He reminded the jury that the prosecution must prove all aspects of the case and therefore they must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was not provoked if they are to return a verdict of guilty of murder. Otherwise, they should return a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

He also told them that the question is not whether a "reasonable man" would have been provoked in the circumstances, but whether the accused man with his personality was provoked.

After three hours and 50 minutes of deliberation, Justice Patrick McCarthy told the seven men and five women that they can return a majority verdict if at least ten of them agree. A short time later the jury asked to be allowed to go home and return at 10am.

Eoin Reynolds