Husband not guilty of threats to kill

A 60-year-old man accused of threatening to kill his wife with a chainsaw and to blow up the house with a gas cylinder was found not guilty on all charges yesterday when his wife said she did not want to proceed with the complaint.

Chantelle Murphy said her husband, Joe Murphy, of 7 Fursey Terrace, Banteer, Co Cork, needed help on the day in question and had indicated, two weeks previously, his intention to kill himself.

However, Ms Murphy said the help he needed was not being provided for him on that day.

Ms Murphy made these views known when she was sworn in to give evidence in the trial of her husband at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Because of her decision not to proceed with the complaint, the prosecution said it would not be in a position to proceed against Mr Murphy.

In those circumstances, Judge David Riordan instructed the six men and six women of the jury to return a not-guilty verdict by direction of the trial judge.

Mr Murphy was put on trial on four charges, namely that he falsely imprisoned Ms Murphy at their home at Castle at Maplewood, Castlepark, Mallow, Co Cork, on September 20, 2014, and that he threatened to kill her on three occasions on that date, once by use of a chainsaw, another by use of a pitchfork, and finally by use of a gas cylinder, knife, and cigarette lighter.

Imelda Kelly, prosecuting, had outlined what she anticipated would be the evidence of the case.

She said Mr Murphy arrived home on Friday night, September 19, 2014, in an agitated state and remained that way throughout the night and into the following morning.

Ms Kelly said Ms Murphy “will tell you he was asking her to get petrol for the chainsaw and that when she refused he said he would get the chainsaw and kill her with it. Later on in the course of the day he put a pitchfork up to her throat and threatened to kill her.

“Later, again when agitated and distressed, he was holding a knife, there was a gas cylinder there, and he threatened to cut off the rubber pipe of the gas cylinder and with the cigarette lighter he was going to light that and cause an explosion that would kill both of them.”

Ms Kelly said this event went on throughout Saturday and that Ms Murphy was in fear and could not leave the house.

At one stage, when her husband went to the bathroom, she managed to get the keys and get away from the house and call the gardaí, the court heard.

“Gardaí will tell you they thought she was in a distressed state. Mr Murphy had to be subdued by the armed response unit,” said Ms Kelly.

When Ms Murphy was called to give evidence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, she asked if she could say something at the outset.

She said she did not want to give evidence against her husband.

“Prior to the incident happening, he was not well. He called a doctor five times for him to call him,” she said.

“Because he missed his appointment, that took him out of the list. He rang the doctor and said: ‘I am going to do away with myself if I don’t get help.’

“Nobody came to give him help. He was so distressed before this incident.”

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