Daniel Murtagh, who beat his former partner Nadine Lott to the point where she was "completely unrecognisable", leaving her with "extreme and grotesque" injuries from which she never recovered, has filed legal papers in his bid to have his murder conviction overturned.
Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin, had pleaded guilty to Ms Lott’s manslaughter but had denied her murder.
The plea, however, was not accepted by the State, and he was convicted by a unanimous verdict of murdering 30-year-old Ms Lott at her apartment in St Mary's Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th, 2019, following a two-week trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Sentencing Murtagh to the mandatory life term in October last year, Mr Justice Michael MacGrath described Ms Lott’s murder as “brutal” and the evidence heard at trial from members of the emergency services who attended the scene was “testament to the terror, evil and brutality” she had suffered at his hands.
Murtagh has now launched an appeal against his conviction. At the Court of Appeal on Friday, Emmet Nolan BL, for Murtagh, told Court President Mr Justice George Birmingham that his client’s appeal against the murder conviction required two affidavits from the defence to proceed.
The first affidavit, he said, was from his client and that had already been “sworn and filed”.
Mr Nolan told Mr Justice Birmingham that he expected the second affidavit, from Murtagh’s solicitor, John Shanley, to be “sworn and filed by lunchtime today”.
A date for the full hearing has yet to be set and the case will be called again for mention at the same court on July 15th.
'Prolonged, evil attack'
At Murtagh’s sentence hearing, Ms Lott's mother, Claire Lott, said her family was haunted by thoughts of her daughter's “terror, fear, panic and cries” during the “prolonged, evil attack” carried out by a “monster”.
Mrs Lott told the jury her daughter had been beaten so badly by Murtagh she did not recognise her when she found her dying in the kitchen of her apartment, on December 14th, 2019.
“I couldn't recognise her face, I couldn't recognise it was Nadine,” she said.
She later told the court in a victim impact statement that “the total carnage” she encountered when she walked into the flat “can and never will be forgotten”.
“The house, her beautiful apartment, was the sight of a horror movie. Nadine’s blood splashed everywhere, broken glass, smashed mirrors, just total horror. When we got to the kitchen the screams of my son and my younger daughter, I will always carry with me.
“Nadine, my daughter, my baby was beyond recognition, she was gasping, blood pouring from her in so many places that all I could do was lie on the floor with her holding her hand trying to give comfort, comfort that I was there.”
Nadine died three days later, on December 17th, in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.
Twelve jurors unanimously rejected Murtagh's defence that he was too intoxicated to have formed the intent to murder his ex-girlfriend and that the “bloodbath” would never have happened “but for the drink and drugs” he consumed that night.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC had asked for a verdict of manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent due to alcohol intoxication.
Murtagh had told gardaí that before his assault on Nadine, he had smoked a joint, taken two pills and drank a “daddy naggin” or shoulder of Captain Morgan rum straight. He also told them that he had been on methadone for the previous three months.
The jury accept the State's contention that this was a case of murder and “nothing short of murder”.
In his closing speech, prosecution counsel John O'Kelly SC argued that there was no defence of intoxication in the case and said Murtagh had the “clearest intent” when he inflicted the “most dreadful blunt trauma injuries” to the beauty therapist's face.
“Just look at what the accused didn't do and what he never tried to do, he never raised a hand to get Nadine any kind of help,” he stressed.