Darren Murphy, aged 37, of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Olivia Dunlea, aged 36, at Pembroke Crescent, Passage West, Co Cork, on February 17, 2013.
When asked how he was to plead to the charge of murder, Mr Murphy said “not guilty, guilty of manslaughter”. He has admitted a second charge of arson on Ms Dunlea’s home on the same date.
In the Central Criminal Court yesterday, Garda Seán Minnihan confirmed that the accused had told gardaí he had stabbed Ms Dunlea at the back of the neck.
Mr Murphy told gardaí, the court heard, that on the night in question he and Ms Dunlea had a “massive row”, during which she threw her car keys at him and told him to get out of the house.
“I asked her to talk to me and she said ‘I thought I told you to leave’,” Mr Murphy told gardaí.
“She took off her clothes, lay down on the bed and when I asked her what she was doing, she said ‘what do you think? Fás is calling, get out’.”
The court heard that the accused then knelt over Ms Dunlea, grabbed her head, and stuck it in the pillow. “I grabbed the knife and stuck it into her,” he told gardaí.
“I just leaned with whatever I had on top of her. I had my knees on either side on top of her. I remember it [the knife] was there. I don’t know why, I just grabbed it.
“I didn’t want to do anything with it. It was no sooner in my hands than it was in her neck. I got off her, I think I lifted her head, I just wanted to get out of there.”
Thomas Farrell, a taxi driver who grew up next door to Mr Murphy, told the court he and Ms Dunlea had been friends for years.
Mr Farrell, whose nickname is Fás, said on one occasion he dropped Ms Dunlea home and they became intimate. “It was a one-night stand and was four to five months previous to the incident,” he said.
Mr Farrell said he subsequently texted Ms Dunlea in November and she replied to say she was in a relationship. “That was the end of it. It was absolute. There was no grey area that’s why there was never a text sent again,” he said.
Mr Farrell said he never envisaged being in the witness box, but “stupid, stupid rumours” had circulated about him.
The trial continues.