Woman serving life granted retrial over stabbing of partner
A woman serving life for murder has had her conviction quashed after the Court of Appeal found the jury should have been allowed to consider whether she had been provoked by her late partner.
Paula Farrell (44), of Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Wayne McQuillan (30) at her home on January 1, 2014.
The Central Criminal Court heard that Farrell and Mr McQuillan, known as Quilly, who lived with his parents, had been in a relationship for a year.
The court heard the couple regularly "over-indulged" in drink, particularly on the night in question, and the prosecution's case was that Farrell stabbed him four times with a kitchen knife.
A Central Criminal Court jury found Farrell guilty of murder after three-and-a-half hours of deliberations.
She was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy on July 17, 2015.
Farrell had her conviction quashed yesterday by the Court of Appeal over the trial judge's decision not to allow the partial defence of provocation to be considered by the jury.
The court ordered a retrial and Farrell was remanded in custody.
Her barrister, Caroline Biggs, had submitted that there were only two viable defences available to Farrell, those being diminished responsibility and provocation.
Ms Biggs said the word "provoked" arose in Farrell's garda interviews, not necessarily as something to describe what happened but "in a general way".
She had told gardai that the deceased "sometimes provokes me".
In his ruling, the trial judge had said it would be fanciful for the defence of provocation to be triggered by the single phrase used by Farrell.
He found no rational basis for allowing the defence to be considered by the jury.
Ms Biggs submitted there was a rational basis for allowing the jury to consider it, and outlined a number of evidential matters the jury had heard.
Farrell told one garda that the deceased had become violent with her, and told another there had been a struggle. She told her daughter the deceased had attacked her and that she "didn't mean it".
Farrell was remanded in custody to appear before the court at a future date.