Phibsborough murder | 

Man pleads guilty to murdering younger brother at their north Dublin home

Gary Murtagh (48) was charged with the murder of his brother Paul Murtagh (42) at their family home in Phibsborough, Dublin 7 on November 6, 2020

Alison O'Riordan

A 48-year-old man who was due to go on trial on Wednesday morning has admitted to murdering his younger brother at their home in north Dublin nearly two years ago.

Gary Murtagh of Broadstone in Dublin 7 was charged with the murder of his brother Paul Murtagh (42) at their family home at Auburn Street, Phibsborough, Dublin 7 on November 6, 2020.

When originally arraigned before the Central Criminal Court on Monday afternoon, Murtagh pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to his manslaughter at that address.

The plea was not accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Mr Justice Paul McDermott swore in a jury to hear the trial.

The trial was expected to open before the ten men and two women of the jury on Tuesday but it did not go ahead as scheduled.

Yesterday, Mr Justice McDermott told the 12 jurors that discussions needed to take place between lawyers in order to shorten the trial. "That requires time so I don't require you today and I invite you to come back on Wednesday and I hope to be able to proceed at that stage," he said.

When the jurors returned to court today, Mr Justice McDermott told them that there had been a development in the case.

Fiona Murphy SC, defending, said Murtagh could be re-arraigned in the presence of the jury, where he then pleaded guilty to the charge of murdering Paul Murtagh.

Addressing the jury, Mr Justice McDermott told them that this was a plea of guilty to a murder charge made against the accused which brought an end to the trial.

"This sometimes happens, sometimes these developments occur after a jury has been empanelled. This resolves your requirement to deliver a verdict. He has pleaded guilty to the charge laid," he added.

Gardai at the scene. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

He thanked the jury, told them that they were free to go and exempted them from jury service for five years.

When the jury left the courtroom, John O'Kelly SC, prosecuting, said that since there was only one sentence to be handed down he understood that the matter could be dealt with very quickly.

Ms Murphy asked Mr Justice McDermott to allow her client to remain on bail until next Monday but the judge said Murtagh had entered a plea to murder and he could not do that.

Murtagh was remanded in custody until next Monday, when he will be sentenced. The judge directed the preparation of a victim impact report on that date.

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