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Woman says she fatally stabbed partner after he began "strangling" her "to death"

Farrell told the court her partner began "strangling" her before she fatally stabbed him
Farrell told the court her partner began "strangling" her before she fatally stabbed him

A 42-year-old Louth woman accused of murdering her partner last year has given evidence in her trial that she was "scared for her life" when the deceased began "strangling" her "to death" before she got a knife and stabbed him.

Paula Farrell with an address at Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth is charged with murdering Wayne McQuillan (30) at her home on January 1, 2014.

Two weeks ago at the Central Criminal Court, Ms Farrell pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr McQuillan.

Continuing to give evidence to defence counsel Mr Derek Kenneally SC, the mother of three told the jury of five men and seven women today she had consumed up to twelve cans of cider before a verbal argument broke out between her and Mr McQuillan on the night.

The court heard how Ms Farrell went to sit on the couch when the deceased gave her a kiss "to make up with her" but she turned her head. 

"He then pulled his pants and boxers down and  then he pulled my pyjama pants down below my knees. He got in between my legs, on top of me and he tried to get his penis inside me because I was fighting him. He got it in a little bit and my legs were kicking and my hands were flying, I was trying to fight him off me but his hands were around my neck," said Ms Farrell.

The accused then told her defence counsel how she thought she was going to die and was afraid. 

"He was straggling me to death and he stuck me a head butt. When I got the head butt I was knocked out for a couple of seconds. He was still on top of me with his hands around my neck, he was strangling me to death. I was trying to fight him off me, I couldn't breathe," Ms Farrell told the courtroom. 

To get Mr McQuillan off her, Ms Farrell gave him a kick on the side of his leg as she thought "he was going to kill" her. 

“I got off the sofa and pulled my pyjama pants up. I was scared and numb. He moved over to the kitchen door. He was looking at me very angry with a mad face. I was scared for my life," added the accused. 

The court then heard Ms Farrell walked six steps to the kitchen sink where she picked up a steak knife, the largest of the knifes as "Quilly" was standing at the kitchen door.

“I went over to him, stood in front of him and stuck the knife in him, around the shoulder area. I did it again around the same area," she said.

Ms Farrell told the courtroom she did not remember following him down the hall or stabbing him a fourth time there. 

"Did you intend to kill Wayne McQuillan," asked the defence counsel.

"No" replied Ms Farell.

"Did you intend to seriously harm him?" again asked Mr Kenneally. 

"No" replied the accused. 

"What did you intend to do?" pressed the barrister.

"To frighten him," said Ms Farrell.

The court then heard when Mr McQuillan asked his partner to call an ambulance for him, instead she went back to the kitchen to wash her hands.

"I didn't call one because I was blank, I was numb," she said.

The court heard that she later followed Quilly outside the front of the house where he was lying on the grass and put her hand on his knee and said she was "so sorry" as she roared crying.

Later that night in her mother's house Ms Farrell went to the bathroom and noticed that her neck was "black and blue from left to right", as well as a mark on her jaw and a bump on her head. 

Ms Farrell told her defence counsel she "couldn't believe" it when she heard Quilly had passed away as she loved him.

"Why didn't you tell gardai that Wayne had sexually assaulted and raped you?" put Mr Kenneally to the accused. 

"Because I didn't want to believe it, because it happened me before," said Ms Farrell.

Yesterday Ms Farrell gave evidence in her trial that she took to drinking at 14 years of age to "block" out being sexually abused for seven years as a child. 

"The guards even went as far as asking you if something sexual had happened you and you told the guards it hadn't?" asked the defence counsel.

"Yes" replied Ms Farrell.

Mr Kenneally then asked the accused if she could remember when it was when she eventually told somebody what Mr McQuillan had done to her that night?

Ms Farrell said it was before last Christmas when she told her sister.

"Why did you tell her and no one else before that?" asked the barrister.

"Because last year I had to do a written statement of my past and I got my sister to help me with it," she replied.

In cross examination prosecution counsel Mr Gerard Clarke SC put it to Ms Farrell that she gave evidence that suggested she was drinking every day but there were days she didn't. 

"Your house was well kept, not a house one would expect to belong to an alcoholic. When you son was going to school, you got up to get him ready and walked him there. That’s a far cry from what the jury would call the life of an alcoholic. Were you as affected by alcohol as you claim to be?" asked the prosecution counsel.

"Yes" she replied.

Mr Clarke put it to the witness how Quilly tried to give her a kiss and then out of the blue he pulled down his trousers and boxers and her pyjama bottoms, got in between her legs and tried to get his penis inside her.

"I'm putting it to you that it’s a monstrous lie to say Wayne McQuillan did this to you and he isn't here to defend himself and it took you a year to say it," said the barrister.

"This is a man you said to the guards that was very nice to you, wasn't violent to you, got on well with your son, and yet your saying out of the blue in a flash this happened?" added the prosecution counsel.

"I suggest this didn't happen, you made this up so the jury will believe you and it will affect the outcome of your case," said Mr Clarke.

"Contrary to what you told the jury I suggest you knew perfectly well what you doing, you picked out the biggest knife and then turned and walked where Mr McQuillan was,. I suggest it was a conscious decision to pick out the biggest knife, I suggest you picked out the biggest knife because that would do the most damage to Mr McQuillan," concluded the barrister. 

Ms Farrell continues to be cross examined by the prosecution before Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy at 11am in the morning.