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'Don't threaten me': Murder trial hears WhatsApp messages between Nadine Lott and accused

A garda told the court that the two phones showed “a large degree of contact” in the months before her death.

Image: Nadine Lott.

JUST UNDER TWO weeks before Nadine Lott’s former partner killed her she told him not to “threaten” her and that “nothing is ever going to happen between us again, I want to make that clear,” the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The jury in the trial of Daniel Murtagh was today given transcripts of WhatsApp messages between the accused and his ex-girlfriend in the days and weeks leading up to Ms Lott’s death.

In them the accused asks her if she is “seeing someone from Dublin”. In reply, Ms Lott tells her ex-boyfriend that she is not seeing anyone. Mr Murtagh asks her if there was a “Dublin lad” in her “place” and she tells him to “leave it out”.

In another text from 5 December the accused said: “Nadine I worry about ye, not in love, just don’t slip”. She replies: “Don’t threaten me either”.

Evidence has previously been given that Mr Murtagh told a motorist that he had “killed my wife because she was with my friend”, just hours after he assaulted her.

John Begley testified last week that he saw a car in a ditch as he was travelling over Bookies Bridge in Laragh on the morning of 14 December and then came across the accused man standing at the side of the road.

“Daniel said to me ‘you don’t know what I’ve done”. I said what did you do. He said ‘I killed my wife’. I didn’t think anything of it. He said it a second time and said he hoped she was not dead. He said ‘she was with my friend’,” recalled Mr Begley.

Mr Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old ex-partner Ms Lott at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on  17 December, 2019. 

The jury has heard that Ms Lott suffered “severe blunt force trauma” and stab injuries at the hands of her former partner “in a sustained and violent attack” in her Arklow home.

They have heard evidence that the injuries to Ms Lott were so serious that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

An intensive care nurse at the hospital has told the jury that Ms Lott was “completely unrecognisable” and that she had never seen anybody so badly injured.

A paramedic who attended to Ms Lott at her home told the jury that the call will “haunt” him for the rest of his career and was one of the most “horrendous scenes” he had ever walked into.

The garda who telephoned ambulance control informed them that Ms Lott had been “beaten to a pulp”.

Giving evidence today, Detective Garda David Hamblyn told prosecution counsel James Kelly BL that he extracted communication from the WhatsApp Messenger platform belonging to the accused and Nadine’s mobile phones between July 15 and December 14, 2019. 

Det Gda Hamblyn told Mr Kelly that on 5 December, just under two weeks before her death, Nadine told Mr Murtagh: “Nothing is ever going to happen between us again, I want to make that clear.” 

Mr Murtagh replied: “What are you being thick for?” 

She said: “I’m not being thick, I’m just saying it as it is”. 

Mr Murtagh asked “Are you seeing someone from Dublin?” 

Ms Lott replied “what” and Mr Murtagh said: “Close to me”. 

She then said: “Here we go”. 

Mr Murtagh continued: “Would you tell me before I tell you” and Nadine replied: “I’m not seeing anyone”. 

The accused said “Ok, was there a Dublin lad in your place?” 

Ms Lott: “Ah leave it out Dan, will you”. 

The accused said: “Nadine I worry about ye, not in love , just don’t slip”. 

Nadine said: “Don’t threaten me either.” 

Mr Murtagh asked his former girlfriend how he had threatened her and she replied: “Just don’t slip; sounds a bit like a threat”. 

He asked Ms Lott “why are you pissed with me” and she replied: “You rot me with this, do you have Dublin lads in the house.” 

The conversation ended with Mr Murtagh telling the beauty therapist that he will be “down next Friday, try to be a bit nicer than you are now. I shouldn’t be worrying as much, my fault”. 

On 6 December, Nadine told Mr Murtagh that they were having Christmas dinner “in mine” if he wanted to “come down”. 

Three days later on 9 December, Ms Lott told the accused that it was her aunt’s birthday and she planned to go for drinks on the night of 13 December. 

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On the night of 13 December, Mr Murtagh sent Nadine a message asking her to “please come home soon”. There are two WhatsApp missed calls from Mr Murtagh’s phone to Ms Lott’s phone at 00.57 and 1.26am that night.

Cross-examination

Under cross-examination, Det Gda Hamblyn agreed with defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC that the two phones showed “a large degree of contact” between Ms Lott and his client in the months leading up to the event. The witness also agreed that a lot of contact was by text but there were also quite a lot of calls and “clearly plans were being made for Christmas”. 

At the outset of the trial, Mr Grehan made a number of admissions of fact to the court on behalf of his client.

These included that the accused accepted that he had unlawfully killed Ms Lott and he “alone inflicted the injuries she suffered”.

The issue to be decided by the jury, Mr Grehan said, will be his intent and in the “broader sense his mental state at the time”.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of seven men and five women.

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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