Murder trial hears accused told gardaí, ‘I grabbed a knife…I stuck it into her’

The Passage man on trial for murdering his girlfriend confessed to gardaí that he stabbed her with a kitchen knife and she did not even think it was coming.

Darren Murphy. Pic: Cork Courts Limited

This evidence was given yesterday on the third day of the murder trial of Darren Murphy, aged 41, of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork. 

He denies murdering mother of three, Olivia Dunlea, 36, at her home at Pembroke Crescent, Pembroke Woods, Passage West, on February 17, 2013, but he says he is guilty to manslaughter.

Mr Justice Pat McCarthy and the jury heard evidence from Detective Sergeant Tim Murphy at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork yesterday where the accused said he and the deceased had a row.

Mr Murphy referred in his admission to a man nicknamed Fas whose name is Thomas Farrell. 

Mr Farrell testified earlier that he and the late Ms Dunlea had been intimate on one occasion months before she died. 

He was working as a taxi driver on the night but he did not bring them home from the Rochestown Inn.

Mr Murphy said he got into another taxi and that Olivia said to him that she had “ordered Fas to bring her home” and they got into a row about this.

Det Sgt Murphy said the accused told them, “She went in to the kitchen and took out her keys and threw them at me. She said I was the one starting all the argument.”

He said she told him to get out, she did not want him to stay that night and she took off her clothes to go to bed.

“She said, get out, Fas is calling. I snapped. I grabbed a knife from the side of the bed. I stuck it into her, I think two times. She didn’t even think it was coming. I lit the quilt in the bedroom. The fire was smoking when I left. I lit the kitchen roll on top of the kitchen table.

“I drove Olivia’s car to the Rochestown Inn and left it there. I drove my car home. I threw Olivia’s keys into the stream (near the pub).

“(Earlier at Olivia’s house) I threw Olivia’s phone in the toilet as it was ringing a few times… I put the knife in the main sink,” he said.

Before the murder investigation had commenced, Sergeant Anthony Harrington was at the scene of the fire at Ms Dunlea’s house and met Darren Murphy outside. 

He gave an account of his day on that Saturday including the night out at Rochestown Inn in which he stated Olivia drove her car to the pub.

He said in that first encounter with gardaí that he and Olivia got into a verbal row about Fas and another man known as Frick, whom he described as two of her ex boyfriends.

“She said I could not take a joke, I was too paranoid,” he told Sgt. Harrington.

Asked by Sgt Harrington for the clothes he was wearing at Rochestown Inn, Darren Murphy handed over two bags containing clothes.

Sgt Harrington later examined CCTV from the pub and found that the clothes Murphy was wearing in the video were not the ones he had handed over.

When Sgt Harrington and Sergeant David Treacy returned to Mr Murphy about the clothes, he handed over the actual clothes and said he had hidden them in the attic and elsewhere in the house. 

Sgt Harrington said Mr Murphy became highly emotional, cried and said, “We had a massive row.”

The trial continues today.


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