Darren Murphy, aged 38, of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Olivia Dunlea at Pembroke Crescent in Passage West on February 17, 2013, but admitted killing her.
Murphy had also admitted setting fire to Ms Dunlea’s home because, he claimed, he “didn’t want the kids to find her” and pleaded guilty to a second charge of arson.
He was found guilty of her murder by a Central Criminal Court jury and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Carney on May 29 2014.
Muprhy successfully appealed his conviction on the question of the trial judge’s definition of provocation.
The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal yesterday and remanded him in custody to appear before the Central Criminal Court at its next list to fix dates. Paul Carroll, counsel for the DPP, told the court the DPP would be seeking a retrial.
On Murphy’s account, Ms Dunlea had allegedly provoked him by making “suggestions”, according to the judgment, that a man with whom she had previously been intimate was calling to her house on the night in question.
Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the trial judge’s quoted definition of provocation accurately represented the legal principles to apply to the defence but it could not “supplant the desirability of a comprehensive explanation” in the context of the facts of the case.