herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Suspect in Nicola's assault is a jealous, violent control freak claims ex-girlfriend

THE chief suspect for the vicious assault on mum-of-three Nicola Murray at her Dublin home has a history of obsession, control and violence, a woman who used to date him claimed today.

The man has been questioned by gardai after 28-year-old Nicola was found unconscious at her Reuben Walk home on Sunday after an apparent beating.

She is still in a coma in Beaumont Hospital with what her family have described as "massive facial injuries".

The chief suspect has previously pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting an ex-girlfriend after a night's drinking.

He also left another ex-girlfriend with injuries after punching her in the face with his fist.

Now a woman who was in a four-month relationship with the suspect last summer has told the Herald how he had tried to control her from the beginning and turned violent on her before she finished their relationship.

The woman told how, in a fit of rage, her ex-partner threatened her with a samurai sword after he turned violent at a family function for one of his own relatives.

"I knew him through another friend who I had a relationship with, but we only started seeing each other last summer," the woman explained.

"But I found out quickly that he was a very jealous type of person.

"At first he was all kind of confident and bubbly when we would be out, but when you would be on your own with him it was different," she added.

"He would be telling me he was going to change my phone number and get me a new SIM card, and he would be telling me he loved me after a week and looking to move in together," she said.

"I would be feeling flattered yet fearful as well. His possessiveness scared me and I found he was always checking up on me. As soon as I'd go home he would be ringing me, and if I didn't answer he would be checking with all my friends to see where I was," she explained.

Friends of the woman had warned her off, but it was at a party one day that she claims she saw the side of him that opened her eyes to his ways.



Squeezing

"It was a family thing on his side, and out of the blue he went mad and started a row and I went to walk out and drive away, but he followed me to the car and he was squeezing my face and shouting," said the woman.

"He was squashing my cheeks together so I couldn't talk. I couldn't break away from his grip," she explained.

"He made me ring an ex-boyfriend who had sent me a message on the phone and tell him 'I never liked you' and 'I hated you', and I was sobbing and scared," she added.

"I had seen a samurai sword that he had hidden at the side of the house, and he said he was going to get it.

"He was demanding to know if I loved him," she recalled.

Her relationship with the man who has since become the chief suspect in the Reuben Walk attack ended then, but she said he would contact her through Facebook and ask questions like "How are you sweetheart?"

The woman, who we cannot name for legal reasons, told the Herald she began to get calls from friends on Monday morning telling her that her ex-partner had been arrested after Nicola Murray had been rushed to hospital after an alleged assault at her home.

"God love her, I can only imagine the fear she experienced. I know what he is like," she said.

"He is possessive and a control freak."

The suspect was released by gardai on Monday night and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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