‘Good-natured’ texts from murder accused to victim

A murder trial has heard that text messages between the deceased and a man accused of her murder were of good nature in the hours before her body was found.

‘Good-natured’ texts from murder accused to victim

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 on February 17, 2013.

When asked how he was to plead to the charge of murder, Mr Murphy said “not guilty; guilty of manslaughter”. The accused has pleaded guilty to a second charge of arson on the deceased woman’s home on the same date.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that, for about three months prior to February 17, Ms Dunlea and Mr Murphy were “an item”. The Saturday night before her death, the pair were having a good time in the nearby Rochestown Inn but when they arrived home they had a massive row.

Mr Murphy told gardaí that Ms Dunlea took off her clothes, lay down on the bed, and said another man, known as Fás, was calling. Mr Murphy told gardaí that at this point he “just snapped”.

He said his head was racing and his heart pounding. The knife was “no sooner in my hands than it was in her neck”, he told gardaí.

Under cross-examination yesterday, Garda Sean Minnihan said there was text messaging between the accused and Ms Dunlea on Saturday February 16, 2013.

The garda surmised the context of the texts as being of good nature and gave no indication of problems between them even while they were at the Rochestown Inn, the court heard.

Defence counsel Michael Delaney SC asked the garda if Mr Murphy’s extensive medical records were brought up during interviews, which contained references to an attempt of self-harm in October 2006.

The garda replied that, when asked during the interview if he wanted to talk about it, Mr Murphy said no. He confirmed that Mr Murphy’s admission to hospital following his break-up with another woman was consistent with what was discussed in the interview.

Giving evidence, Garda Minihan said he examined the mobile phone of the man known as Fás and found no contact from the number belonging to Olivia Dunlea. The case continues on Monday.

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