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Accused too drunk to form intent to murder partner, court is told

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Amanda Carroll with Sean Nolan, who denies murder

Amanda Carroll with Sean Nolan, who denies murder

Amanda Carroll with Sean Nolan, who denies murder

Murder accused Sean Nolan was too drunk to form the intent to murder his partner Amanda Carroll, his defence team has told a Central Criminal Court jury.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC argued that what had happened to Ms Carroll was an "accidental death" and under no circumstances did the accused intend to kill his girlfriend, as his previous conduct on the night emphatically pointed the other way.

However, the prosecution told the jury there can be no doubt that Mr Nolan intended to kill or cause serious injury when he put his hand around her neck for 20 seconds.

Counsel for the State, Shane Costelloe SC, gave his closing speech yesterday in the trial of Mr Nolan, who is charged with murdering Ms Carroll in her Dublin apartment two years ago.

Mr Nolan (36), with an address at Ashington Crescent, Navan Road in Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Carroll (33) at Homestead Court, Quarry Road, Cabra, Dublin 7, on October 21, 2018.

The accused told detectives that he put one hand on the neck of his partner and the other over her mouth after she called him by the name of her ex-boyfriend, said she never loved him and tried to hit him.

"I was angry. I just wanted her to go asleep and stop," Mr Nolan told gardaí. He insisted to gardaí that he never set out with an intention to kill his partner.

The defendant also told detectives he knew his girlfriend was dead when he woke up in her bed the following morning and "just panicked".

Gardaí found Mr Nolan on a north Dublin street after they identified the body of Ms Carroll. The defendant said he had "freaked" and spent the day walking around.

When he was arrested on the Navan Road, Mr Nolan said "I probably killed her" when told of Ms Carroll's death.

Drugs

Ms Carroll died from compression of her neck and mouth which was complicated by the ingestion of sedative type drugs.

Mr Costelloe said it was irrelevant that the deceased had taken alcohol to excess and prescription medications on the day before her death.

Ethanol, Diazepine, sleeping tablets, alcohol, antidepressants and cocaine were detected in the deceased's system.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster told the jury that Ms Carroll's death could not have occurred without asphyxia but the drugs consumed had an added effect.

Mr Costelloe submitted in his closing speech that a drunken intent is still an intent.

He said there can be no doubt Mr Nolan intended to kill or cause serious injury when he put his hand around her neck for 20 seconds and if the jury agreed with that they could only return a verdict of guilty of murder.

Defence counsel Mr O'Higgins told the jury Ms Carroll died from a combination of asphyxia aggravated by a weakened respiratory system, which was compromised by ingesting alcohol and prescribed drugs.

The lawyer said the answer to the prosecution's question as to whether Mr Nolan intended to kill or cause serious injury was a "resounding no".

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath will commence his charge to the jury of six men and six women this afternoon.


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