Ex-mayor Murray: I made sex admission under duress

 John Murray: Denied all complaints in court.
John Murray: Denied all complaints in court.

Former lord mayor of Cork John Murray admitted touching a teenager’s breasts and vagina when confronted by her years after the alleged incident, but he testified yesterday that he was under duress at that meeting.

Mr Murray, aged 83, said at a confrontation meeting two years ago that he touched the complainant’s breasts and vagina. Several witnesses told the trial he made the admission.

Yesterday, he accepted he had made the admission. However, he added: “I said that out of duress because of the rumpus that was being created in the house. I should never have said it.

“At the end of the night, I said: ‘Is this what you want to hear — I touched her breasts, I touched her vagina’,” he said, adding that he then asked a person present to take him home.

“But that was completely under duress. I should never have said that. I did not apologise for anything done to [the complainant] because I did not do anything to her.”

Mr Murray, of 17 Gregg Rd, Cork, a former Labour official and retired member of Cork City Council, pleaded not guilty to six charges of sexually assault between 1996 and 1998.

His senior counsel, Alice Fawsitt, also addressed the alleged admission.

She said: “The only reason he made the comments he made was because everyone was shouting and roaring at him... He would say anything to get out of the room.”

One woman attending the meeting said: “He admitted to molesting her, touching her breasts, touching her vagina — he mispronounced that word.”

Mr Murray yesterday denied all the allegations put to him yesterday. The complainant said the first time kissed her and groped her breasts. Mr Murray said: “It certainly did not happen.”

She said he rubbed her vagina outside her clothes while rubbing his penis in his car. He said: “Untrue.”

In the third alleged incident, she said he whispered: “I would love to fuck you.” He said: “I did not, I would never use those words... It did not happen.”

In the fourth complaint, she said he pulled down her underwear and put his fingers into her, took out his penis and pulled at it. He denied this.

She said that on another occasion he admired her hair and rubbed her breasts. “There is no way I sexually assaulted her or tried to sexually assault her,” he said.

She said the last incident occurred when he tried to put his hand inside her jeans in his car. He said: “It certainly did not happen.”

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