For Ann Dunlea, the night times are the hardest — replaying over and over the nightmare of what happened to her daughter, Olivia, at the hands of murderer Darren Murphy.
Ann admits it is especially painful in the still and quietness of the early hours when she doesn’t have the distraction of her grandchildren filling the house up with warmth and love.
In February 2013, Olivia, aged 36, who lived in Passage West, Co Cork, was stabbed in the neck in her home by Darren Murphy, 41, after he first tried to smother her with a pillow. As she lay dying in her bed he set fire to her quilt before going downstairs and lighting a fire in the middle of the table.
He later arrived at the scene of the fire pretending to be a grieving boyfriend
in what the prosecution deemed to be an “Oscar-winning performance”.
“He shouldn’t be left outside the gates,” said Ann.
“The night of the fire he was screaming :‘Where is she?’ He was ringing her. He was in an ‘awful state’ over her.
The family felt the three trials they endured before they got a conviction became the “Darren Murphy show” and Oliva became a footnote.
“There wasn’t a day in court that you wouldn’t want to get up and say ‘That is my child.’ We were demented [by all the trials]. Everything [in the first two trials] was in Dublin. We had to provide sitters for the kids. Weeks and weeks. It was all about him. We were the victims. Not him.”
Ann said it was the brutal nature of her daughter’s death that made it particularly hard to accept.
The Dunlea family emphasise that Olivia’s kids Aaron, 17, Megan, 15, and Dara, 14, are her greatest legacy.
Ann said the grim reality is that she did not get to see her child before she was laid to rest.
“We want to talk because the dead can’t talk for themselves. We never saw her alive again. I wouldn’t wish what happened to us on anyone, not even my worst enemy, and I never want him back out on the streets.”
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