Accused: I burned house so kids wouldn’t find her

The Cork man who admitted stabbing his girlfriend denied to gardaí that his motive for setting fire to her house was to conceal the killing and said he burned it so that the victim’s three children would not find her.

The accused man told gardaí her last words the moment before he stabbed her were, “What about my kids?”

This evidence emerged from memos of interviews with gardaí given by the accused, Darren Murphy of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork, who denies murdering mother of three, Olivia Dunlea, aged 36, at her home at Pembroke Crescent, Pembroke Woods, Passage West, on February 17, 2013, but admits manslaughter.

Darren Murphy said he and Olivia and three friends had a laugh that Saturday night with three friends in the Rochestown Inn but on the way home got into a row. He said Olivia wanted to know why they were in the particular taxi as she had requested a taxi driver known as Fas to collect them. The defendant said he broke down when she said she rang Fas as he believed this was an ex-boyfriend, Thomas Farrell.

“I was crying. She kept grabbing my knee. Olivia knew it upset me when she started going on with stuff like that. She said, ‘You cannot take a joke, grow up’.

“It pissed me off, there was no need to do it, it was like she just wanted to fight with me. I was crying the whole way down. It just upset me. She was trying to fuck with my head. I just didn’t know why she phoned him. I could not think, my head was racing.

“[In her house] she threw my keys at me and told me to get out. She walked upstairs. I followed her. She started taking off her clothes and lay down on the bed. I was trying to get her to talk to me. She would not talk. She told me to leave, Fas is calling and to get out.

“The next thing I know she was dead. I was after stabbing her in the neck. Her phone was ringing. I flung it down the toilet. I knew the kids were coming over I did not want them to find her.”

Describing the stabbing again he said: “She didn’t even know it was coming. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I just heard the gurgles. She knows how much I love her. I don’t know why she would do it to me.”

Asked to describe what happened just before the stabbing he said she had taken off her clothes and was only wearing her knickers. He said he grabbed her head and stuck it in the pillow.

“I pulled her head towards me. She said, ‘what about my kids?’ That is when I stuck the knife in her,” he told gardaí.

He said the knife was on the floor between the bed and bedside locker and that Olivia always kept it there as long as he knew her.

Asked about setting fire to the quilt in the bedroom and to a kitchen roll on the table downstairs and whether he was trying to conceal it he replied, “I knew I was going to get caught.”

Detectives suggested that it looked like he was trying to conceal his actions. He replied that it looked that way but he knew he was going to get caught.

The trial continues today at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.


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