The prosecution asked the jury to consider the passion in comments of the woman accused of murdering her ex-husband that if she could not have him nobody could, while the defence stressed a long history of abuse of her by the deceased.
Prosecution and defence lawyers made their closing speeches in the Macroom murder trial today at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Siobhán Lankford prosecution senior counsel said, “The accused said she stabbed the deceased twice. But if you are satisfied she stabbed him 28 times I think you can logically infer an intention to kill and convict her of murder.
“Ms O’Driscoll said she was acting in self-defence. You heard (on the recorded emergency call from the house) Timmy Foley saying, ‘Rita, stop will you… please get help will you’. You will look at that and ask once the defendant was engaged did she continue past what is acceptable (in terms of self-defence) in those circumstances.” Ms Lankford SC urged them to look at the evidence in four chunks: 1. The lead-up to the events and the motive for what happened; 2. What happened before everything kicked off; 3. What happened in the living room at the time of the stabbing; and 4. What happened after the stabbing.
Ms Lankford referred to texts between the parties in the days before the night of Timmy Foley’s death. She said that while the defendant’s texts to the deceased were generally non-combative, her texts to Sara Hussey were much more aggressive telling her to stop contacting her husband or “you are going to be sliced.” Ms Lankford asked was this playing on Rita O’Driscoll’s mind, particularly when Timmy Foley was texting to the defendant, “I love Sara, I love f***ing her. She my life. XX.” She asked the jury to consider the passion in comments from O’Driscoll including one to the effect that if she could not have her husband then nobody could, and that she would throw petrol on him and set him on fire.
She asked them to consider different versions of events given by the accused in various interviews and what they heard from the victim in the background of the emergency call.
Defence senior counsel Roderick O’Hanlon told the jury in his closing speech, “You are entitled to arrive at a reduced verdict and find her not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter.” Mr O’Hanlon argued that what Rita O’Driscoll did that night was self-defence and that her belief was, “I did not think I would get out alive.” He said that as far as she was concerned she was only responsible for stabbing Timmy Foley twice.
Mr O’Hanlon explained that if the jury found she was simply defending herself then the appropriate verdict was not guilty.
He said that if the issue of provocation arose then this allowed a partial defence and there could be a finding of not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter.
“Her response seems to have been explosive. She acquired the knife and responded with a loss of control and stabbed Timmy. Timmy Foley has a history of producing a knife. He was convicted within the year of producing a knife on a bus and he was banned from buses in Macroom,” Mr O’Hanlon said.
In their consideration of the issues he asked them to look at what he described as a long history of abuse, the attack on her by Jason Foley, Timmy Foley laughing in response, and the deceased man then stabbing her in the head with a knife. He referred to the defendant being threatened by Timmy Foley that, “You will leave here in a bodybag.” Ms Justice Eileen Creedon will address the jury of seven women and five men at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork tomorrow.
48-year-old Rita O’Driscoll of Bridge Street, Bandon, County Cork, denies murdering of 44-year-old Timmy Foley at 12 Dan Corkery Place, Macroom, County Cork, on October 8 2018 and a charge of causing serious harm to the deceased man’s brother, Jason Foley.