A HEARTBROKEN mother whose daughter was stabbed and burned alive by her jealous boyfriend has appealed to women in abusive relationships to get help before it’s too late.
Speaking on the eighth anniversary of her daughter Olivia’s murder, Ann Dunlea said she will never forgive her killer, psycho Darren Murphy.
Mum-of-three Olivia died in her home in Passage West, Cork, on February 17, 2013, at the hands of cruel Murphy, who had been her boyfriend for less than three months.
Speaking about the Irish Sun’s Knives Cost Lives campaign, Ann said that while Olivia was stabbed six times by Murphy in her home with a kitchen knife, she also feels the heartbreak and hurt experienced by other families who have lost loved ones to knife crime.
She said: “From my own experience now, I believe everything should be done to stop knives being used on our streets to kill and maim.
“I never in my life thought I would be going through this heartbreak, that a guard would knock on my door to say my daughter was dead.
“But I’m not the only one getting that awful news, and if anything can be done to stop others hearing a loved one has been murdered then the campaign must be supported.
“People are carrying knives on them to use them and inflict damage. They don’t say, ‘hang on now while I go home and get a knife and I will be back to stab you”
“People are carrying knives on them to use them and inflict damage. They don’t say, ‘hang on now while I go home and get a knife and I will be back to stab you’.
“Something has to be done and hopefully the Irish Sun highlighting it will help in preventing other families from going through what we have endured.
“No one thinks heartbreak like this is going to end up on your own door.
“Before Olivia was killed, when I heard about a murder on the news I would comment what an awful thing to happen — without ever expecting we’d end up like this.”
THE IRISH SUN SHOUTS S.T.O.P.
KNIFE crime is on the rise. A woman and a teenager have lost their lives following street attacks already this year and at least three others have been injured.
Evidence is emerging that the Covid-19 lockdown and the social vacuum it causes has fuelled an already growing trend.
Community leaders, sports clubs, schools and families need all our support.
Blade crime — just like the drugs problem — cannot be tackled as a criminal issue alone because it is a matter of public health.
The vast majority of young people carrying knives do not want to — they feel they have no choice.
They leave home with only the thought of protecting themselves, oblivious to how quickly circumstances can spiral out of control.
These people on the periphery of the violence need opportunities to escape it through education and community support.
The Irish Sun has launched a campaign to halt the rise. We are shouting STOP.
SALES BAN: Control lethal weapon purchases.
TRAGEDY: Listen to the stories of victims and learn from their experiences with knives.
OPPORTUNITY: Give young people options to ditch the blade through street-level violence reduction initiatives, schools, the Gardai or community.
PUNISHMENT: Ten-year jail terms for serious knife offences.
We, as a society, must consider measures like knife amnesties.
We aim to help raise awareness, push for adequate punishments and help to create a path out of the violence for those who want it.
The campaign won’t be won or lost tomorrow, but we’re in it for the long haul.
Ann told how killer Murphy was possessive and domineering and wanted to be with Olivia at all times.
According to her family, he was constantly jealous of her — something they believe led to her cruel death.
Ann told the Irish Sun on Sunday: “He was so bad, if Olivia was here he would arrive and be ringing from outside the house asking, ‘where is she, where is she?’.
“We often wonder if she told him that night she was breaking it off and that was what put him in such a rage leading to him murdering her.”
The now 50-year-old Murphy had a jealous row with Olivia when they returned to her home in Pembroke Crescent after a night out.
He grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her multiple times as she lay in her bed.
One of the wounds left her paralysed. As the 36-year-old lay dying the fiend set fire to her quilt.
CONCEAL HIS CRIME
He went downstairs and lit a blaze in the middle of the kitchen table in an attempt to conceal his crime.
He later told gardai they had a massive row and he snapped, stating: “The knife was no sooner in my hand than it was in her neck.”
To make matters worse, Murphy, of Dan Desmond Villas, Passage West, Co Cork, admitted killing Olivia on the night but denied it was murder.
He put her heartbroken mum, dad Jimmy and two younger sisters through hell by continuously seeking to have the murder verdict of a jury overturned in the appeal courts.
After enduring years of attending court and finally getting the murder conviction they had sought in the summer of 2018, vile Murphy again resorted to the expensive appeals legal system here to fight the case.
After three trials, yet another appeal was thrown out in March last year, and he is currently serving a life sentence.
Now the Dunlea family want life to be life and do not want to see Olivia’s murderer released on parole at any time in the future.
Ann said: “He gave us a life sentence. We will never see Olivia’s smiling face again.
“We couldn’t even dress her for her funeral because she was so badly burnt and she had a closed coffin. We did not get to say a proper goodbye to her.
“Already he got out of prison to attend his parents’ funerals. He can see his family and friends but has left us with nothing.”
Ann admitted she would like nothing better than to know the keys to his cell are thrown away.
She added: “He should not be let outside the gates. He is in a hotel in prison.
“The night of the fire, he went back to the scene and was screaming, ‘Where is she?’
“He was in an ‘awful state’ over her. He was able to look down at the house on fire from an elevated spot on a road overlooking Permbroke.
“The evil act of burning her body in her home will haunt us forever.
“We’ve had to sit through three trials over the years, listening to the gruesome details of her murder over and over.
“Our family will never understand his web of lies.
“We just cannot comprehend how he could arrive at the scene of the fire pretending to be a grieving boyfriend in what the prosecution deemed to be an ‘Oscar-winning performance’.”
‘CARING AND KIND’
Speaking about her beloved daughter Olivia, Ann said: “She was caring and kind. She even chose childcare as a career because she loved children.
“She was a great mum and aunty. She was so kind and was loved by everyone who knew her.
“She could never refuse the children anything which is why their home was full of animals and creatures big and small.
“People say it gets easier as the years go on, but we have not had the chance to even come to terms with Olivia’s death because of the ongoing court cases year after year.
“At least now we have time to breathe and reflect — but it doesn’t get easier.
“When I think of Olivia, my first thought is that she should be here with us and her children. Murphy said he was sorry, but we don’t want his apologies.
“Olivia was my first child and from the minute I saw her I loved her unconditionally.
“She was such a lovely child growing up and her kids now are like her and we can see so much of her in them.
“They are her legacy and our reason for keeping going. Sometimes they do things and I say to myself, ‘that is what Olivia would have done’.
“They are our joy and our pride. Megan, her daughter, is doing the same childcare course she did in the College of Commerce. We were always there for one another and we were always very close.
“We were in constant contact. Almost every day there would be a phone call or a visit in person. I miss all that so much now.
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“It’s very hard and I try to cope on a day-to-day basis. There can be days when something happens and it hits hard.
“I have no doubt but that Olivia is around and with us. That is a comfort.
“We visit the grave regularly and I talk to her. It’s very hard.”