NewsCrime Desk

Wife-strangler thinks he should get parole

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
David Murphy
David Murphy

WIFE-STRANGLER David Murphy is buttering up prison authorities in a bid to finally secure parole by slogging away in the Arbour Hill officers’ mess.

Our exclusive pictures show the 54-year-old, who dumped his murdered wife next to a skip, enjoying the briefest taste of freedom as he walked between the prison and the officers’ mess on Thursday.

Murphy, who appeared to notice our surveillance team, initially covered his face, but ultimately gave the gesture up as futile as he ferried a tub of butter to the officer’s kitchen

Sources say Murphy – who has always denied the horrific murder of wife Patricia and who was largely convicted on the video-link evidence of their children – believes after 18 years in custody he should now qualify for parole.

Patricia’s strangled and battered body was discovered partially naked and dumped beside a skip in The Rise, Glasnevin – just 300 yards from her Griffith Avenue home.

However, the Sunday World understands there are no plans to grant him release in the near future.

Murphy was sentenced to life imprisonment in December of 1998 after a jury at the Central Criminal Court unanimously found him guilty of his wife’s murder.

During a 12-day trial, his children give evidence that they saw their “mammy” lying dead in the garage and that “daddy was there” when they saw it.

They also described how, when they asked Murphy what they had seen in the garage, he told them it was a “monster”.

The children’s testimony was the first time video-link evidence had been shown in a murder trial in Ireland.

On tape, the couple’s nine-year-old daughter told how the children had discovered their mum’s body after her three-year-old brother had gone down to the garage because he heard a noise.

Patricia Murphy

When he came back upstairs, she had asked him what he had seen and he told her: “There was a monster in the garage.”

The girl said she went downstairs, turned off the alarm and went in to look.

“It was all dark,” she said, then the light went on and her dad was standing at the door.

Her two brothers were with her. She said: “We could see our mam’s body lying against the wall.”

They were then told to go to bed, and when their father got them upstairs, “he slapped us”.

The next day she went to school. She said: “I said to dad what was that in the garage, and he said ‘that was just a monster’.”

The second youngest of the Murphy children, a five-year-old boy – who was three at the time of his mother’s death – also gave evidence via video link.

He said:  “She had her eyes closed. I asked her a question but she didn’t answer me. We only saw a rope around her neck.”

Murphy had pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife, Patricia (33), on May 27 or 28, 1996, and he denied he had strangled her in their house in Griffith Avenue and that he dumped her body beside a skip in The Rise, Glasnevin.

The children’s evidence, key to convincing the jury of Murphy’s guilt – was backed up by the discovery of a supermarket bag containing the clothes he and his wife were wearing on the day she went missing in the Tolka river.

Another witness told the court how Murphy had told him: “They [the Gardaí] think they are clever by doing all this, but they are not clever enough to catch me out.”