A man who denies murdering his girlfriend was categorised by the prosecution as a controlling individual who committed murder in a jealous rage but the defence claimed he felt provoked and lost control.
Darren Murphy, aged 41, of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork, is on trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork, on a charge of murdering Olivia Dunlea, aged 36, at her home at Pembroke Crescent, Pembroke Woods, Passage West, on February 17, 2013.
He admits manslaughter.
Tom Creed, prosecuting, said Mr Murphy gave an Oscar-like performance outside Ms Dunlea’s house after he had killed her and set fire to her home.
Mr Creed said the accused knew he would be phoned to come to the scene of the fire but he made it look like he arrived in disarray from bed with his top on backwards and inside out, so that people would look at him and say: “Poor Darren in a panic.”
“He did that with one purpose — to deceive the people he would meet at the scene,” said Mr Creed.
“He is there with his crocodile tears and he makes a run for the door and has to be stopped. That is just pure deceit.
"In the back of the car with the guard he puts on this Oscar-like performance, saying: ‘They said there was nobody in there.’ That was more deceit — deceit and lies.”
Mr Creed rejected the defence of provocation — the suggestion that there was a temporary and sudden complete loss of control.
“He is saying he lost control because Olivia was saying Fas was coming over,” said Mr Creed. “But he is all about control, his actions were all about control.
“He was a jealous-minded person. We have that evidence from his former girlfriend of him checking her phone. He was doing that with Olivia as well.
“He is in complete control. He is in control from the word go. He was in control when he killed Olivia.
"He set fire to the house. Everything about what he did afterwards was controlled.”
On the claim that he set fire to the house so that the deceased’s three children would not see the body with stab wounds, Mr Creed said that was rubbish.
He said the accused could have called the emergency services for that purpose.
Tim O’Leary, defending, said: “This is not a case of someone trying escape his outrageous actions.”
Mr O’Leary said the State’s case was based on admissions made by the accused.
“Not alone did he put all the pieces of the jigsaw together, but he gave the State the pieces of the jigsaw,” said Mr O’Leary.
Referring to Frick and Fas, nicknames for two men Mr Murphy believed Ms Dunlea had relationships in the past, Mr O’Leary said: “All this business about Frick and Fas — Olivia is not on trial here. People’s lives are their lives.”
Mr O’Leary said they had to see matters from the defendant’s perspective from the point of view to decide on the issue of whether he was provoked.
He said it was not for them to decide what they would do in the circumstances but what the accused would do.
The defence lawyer said Mr Murphy was not getting away with anything because he had admitted manslaughter and had in effect admitted setting fire to the victim’s house.
He said the State case was a big jumble of speculation where the defendant was having a whole lot of control attributed to him.
Instead, the defendant emerged from five interviews with gardaí as “a blithering idiot”, crying, admitting killing his girlfriend, and apologising to her family, and all of that shortly after 10pm on the night after the killing.
Mr Justice Pat McCarthy will continue his charging of the 11 jurors today and they will then commence their deliberations.
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