Northern Ireland news

Murder accused wanted police to shoot him, court hears

David Lyness is accused of killing Anita Downey

A LURGAN man who denies the cut-throat murder of his former fiancee wanted police to shoot him, his trial has heard.

David Lyness (52) is accused of "slicing" open the throat of his 51-year-old girlfriend Anita Downey, in front of his son, during a drunken argument on January 20 last year.

His Craigavon Crown Court trial, sitting in Belfast, has already heard that Ms Downey was found lying in the living room of Lyness' Toberhewny Hall home, her throat cut back to her spine.

A police sergeant who took charge of those tasked to Lyness' home following a distraught emergency 999 call by his son, told how Lyness, in a slurred voice from behind the living room door, claimed he was on the phone to his girlfriend.

The sergeant, who said he had drawn his handgun, while ordering other officers to arm themselves with either pepper spray, or batons, then told him that his girlfriend was dead.

Lyness, he claimed, then became angry and began swearing, and that "he wanted me, the police to come in and shoot him".

An officer with him told the court that he too "heard some voice .... come in and shoot me".

Anita Downey was killed in Lurgan, Co Armagh

Other officers claimed "the male on the other side of the door was shouting loudly, she's dead ... and he wanted to die and wanted police to shoot him ... he said he wanted us to shoot him".

Earlier yesterday, the jury heard a recording of the frantic 999 emergency call made by Lyness' distraught son, as he fled the scene.

In the recording, a clearly distressed and sobbing teen could just be made out telling an operator that "my dad has just sliced his girlfriend's throat".

"Your dad slit his girlfriend's throat?" one operator asked the teen.

"Yes, yes, with a knife," he replied.

An officer said that later the teenager told how his father was already drunk when his girlfriend arrived in a taxi, and his dad put some music on. However, having drunk three bottles of wine between them, they began arguing and "Anita flew at David" and began slapping him.

They argued over an engagement ring, which Lyness wanted returned, and which Ms Downey put in her handbag. They then fought over the bag, before Lyness went and armed himself with a knife. And then after cutting open her throat, he told him: "It had to be done son, and that's it ... that's it, I'm going to have to kill myself".

At hearing.

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