Northern Ireland news

Murder trial hears accused son's taped police interview

David Lyness

A MURDER trial has heard the taped police interview of a teenager who allegedly watched his father attempting to chop off the head of his girlfriend.

The interview was played at the trial of 52-year-old David Lyness who denies murdering his 51-year-old girlfriend Anita Downey in his Toberhewny Hall home in Lurgan on January 20 last year.

Craigavon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast has already heard that Ms Downey was found with her throat cut back to her spine, which also severed her jugular vein.

Yesterday, jurors listened as Lyness' son described the situation confronting him as he watched his dad, straddling Ms Downey, 'sawing' at her neck, as he told him "it had to be done".

And the teenager, clearly distressed at times, told police he could not understand why Ms Downey seemed "too calm for someone who was getting their head chopped off".

Initially he described how he returned home to find his dad, already drunk, sitting playing poker on his computer. Sometime later, Ms Downey arrived in a taxi. She was also drunk.

As they continued drinking wine, they began to argue and the teenager went to his bedroom.

However, within moments he ran back to the living room on hearing his father say, "I'm going to beat you", and found him sitting astride Ms Downey, "punching and violently abusing her".

When he asked his dad what he was doing, he came at him, and pushing him out of the way stormed into the kitchen, returning with a large knife.

The teenager then described hearing Ms Downey's voice, "it was so calm ... I don't know how she was so calm ... he was sawing at her neck ... and she just looked at me .... your dad's cutting me.

He then said he "just freaked out" and ran from the house followed by his dad, who threatened to turn the knife on himself.

Asked by police what his dad may have meant by that, the teenager replied: "well maybe he knew he was going to go to jail ... and instead of going to jail, he was going to kill himself".

At hearing.

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