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extreme violence Nadine Lott one of 240 women to die violently in past 25 years, according to Women's Aid

Women's Aid says reviews of all domestic homicides will help stop them, writes Catherine Fegan

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Family and friends of Nadine Lott, with, in centre (L-R) Claire Lott, Tanith Lott and Phoebe Lott, the mother and sisters of Nadine, after Daniel Murtagh was found guilty of murdering her

Family and friends of Nadine Lott, with, in centre (L-R) Claire Lott, Tanith Lott and Phoebe Lott, the mother and sisters of Nadine, after Daniel Murtagh was found guilty of murdering her

Family and friends of Nadine Lott, with, in centre (L-R) Claire Lott, Tanith Lott and Phoebe Lott, the mother and sisters of Nadine, after Daniel Murtagh was found guilty of murdering her

Of all the harrowing testimony given during the two-week trial of Daniel Murtagh, one day's evidence stood out.

As he took to the stand on day two, paramedic Ian Clarke began his testimony by saying that St Mary's Court was one of "the most horrendous scenes" he had ever walked into in his life.

There was broken furniture everywhere.

Kneeling on shattered glass, his uniform was quickly "destroyed and covered" in blood. "It was difficult so see where all of the injuries were," the paramedic said.

Earlier that morning, 14-year Garda veteran Linda Butler, one of the first gardaí at the scene, told the jury that she had never seen such a beating.

Later on the same day in court, intensive care nurse Leah Grant broke down as she recalled not being able check Nadine's pupils because her right eye was so physically swollen they couldn't open it.

Paramedics, nurses, gardaí, people who, by the nature of their job are used to seeing the worst of humankind, had never seen brutality like it.

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Nadine Lott

Nadine Lott

Nadine Lott

 

Nadine Lott (30) died in hospital on December 17, 2019 - three days after her ex-boyfriend, Murtagh, subjected her to a beating that left her unrecognisable to her family.

On Thursday, after 34-year-old Murtagh was convicted of murder, Superintendent Declan McCarthy said that in his 40 years policing, he had never encountered "such a level of violence".

According to Women's Aid, Nadine Lott is one of 240 women in Ireland who have died violently since 1996.

The figure includes four deaths this year to date.

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The agency started monitoring femicide in Ireland in 1996, a year remembered for the sharp rise in violent attacks on women.

CEO of Women's Aid Sarah Benson said a domestic homicide review of the Nadine Lott case, a process that happens in the UK after a violent death linked to abuse, would help prevent future deaths.

"This is a case of extreme, extreme violence," she said.

"I don't know the details of Nadine's situation, but in the round - from what we have learned from the use of domestic homicide reviews in the likes of the UK - in some cases, people think that domestic violence must be physical violence.

Coercive control, which is an incredibly insidious and impactful way of abusing somebody, may have implicit threats of abuse or violence, but doesn't have to include them. "We have seen in some cases in the UK, where domestic homicide reviews have been done, where the first instance of physical violence was actually the act of murder, but up until that, there were huge levels of controlling, manipulative behaviour."

During the trial, the jury saw WhatsApp messages between Ms Lott and Murtagh in the weeks before her death.

On December 5, Ms Lott messaged him: "Nothing is ever going to happen between us again, I want to make that clear."

Murtagh had told investigating detectives that Nadine was the "love of his life" and his future wife.

Claims that he and Nadine had got back together five times since returning from Australia, where they met, were denied by Nadine's mother in court.

The couple had a daughter together, born in 2014.

Speaking about the case, Supt McCarthy said Nadine had made it "very clear" that she wanted no form of relationship with Murtagh and the accused was "clearly deluded" about the status of his relationship with his former partner.

"They were separated quite a long time," he said.

"Nadine had made it very clear that she wanted no form of relationship and that the only relationship they had was through their daughter."This was the only connection they had and Nadine had been unambiguous and very clear about that from the start."

Referring to Murtagh's intent that night, he said: "Intent was very clear from our point of view from the very start in relation to this."

Supt McCarthy said the Lott family felt "very relieved" as they were "very worried" that a verdict of manslaughter could have been returned in the case.

"It was on the agenda, it was always a possibility and clearly the jury felt that the level of violence that was used overruled any form of other doubts about what the intent was in this case," he said.

Ms Benson said the case was "horrendous" and that the details of what Nadine Lott was subjected to are likely to have impacted other women.

"We would encourage anyone who is affected by this case to please pick up the phone," she said.

Referring to the 240 women who have died by violence over the last 25 years, she said that regardless of the level of violence used, each one of them had their life snatched away.

"We are talking about 240 women whose lives are gone.

"Their potential snuffed out forever.

"This (case) is being referred to as an act of extreme violence but all of them are acts of extreme violence," she said.

Anyone affected by issues raised in this article can contact Women's Aid on 1800 341 900.

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