Corstorphine Hill murder accused heard ‘voices’

Corstorphine Hill murder victim  Phyllis Dunleavy of Dublin. Picture: submitted
Corstorphine Hill murder victim Phyllis Dunleavy of Dublin. Picture: submitted
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A MAN accused of beheading his mother and burying her in a shallow grave told a friend, “I might be evil”, a murder trial heard yesterday.

James Dunleavy, 40, had been showing a keen interest in Islam, after also experimenting with Buddhism and New Age beliefs.

He told a friend he had been hearing voices and the Koran would not protect him.

Shop manager Mohammed Razaq – who used Dunleavy’s bedroom to pray when he could not get to the mosque – told the High Court in Edinburgh of their conversations weeks before the dismembered remains of Dunleavy’s mother Philomena were found in a woodland clearing on the city’s Corstorphine Hill.

Mr Razaq, 40, said there was a bond between them “like brothers” and he had a set of keys for Dunleavy’s flat in Edinburgh’s Balgreen Road.

He went on to tell how their friendship broke down after Dunleavy’s 66-year-old mother came from her home in Marino, Dublin, to visit her son last April.

Mr Razaq witnessed a conversation when Dunleavy was angry because his mother had split up with his father and moved in with another man. Dunleavy claimed she had been “brainwashed” by a group of women he called “the witches”.

When he tried to visit again the following evening, Dunleavy would not let him in.

Mr Razaq told the trial that Dunleavy said: “My mum is not well. She is sleeping. You cannot come in tonight.”

The shop manager continued: “He had never done that before. I was taken aback, slightly upset. ”

He added that Dunleavy looked as though he had not slept.

He said: “It was odd to me. His appearance is normally smart but he looked very ­dishevelled.”

The trial heard that Dunleavy turned down an invitation to a Muslim wedding in Dundee, claiming he was looking after his mother.

Mr Razaq was then told that Mrs Dunleavy had returned to Dublin, without saying good-bye to her son.

He also noticed that Dunleavy, who had been “off cigarettes for a while”, had started smoking again.

Then Dunleavy came into his shop one evening and stayed, talking, until closing time.

“His opening comment to me was, ‘I might be evil. I might be hearing voices in my head’.”

Mr Razaq said: “My reply was, ‘That is the devil in your head, talking to you. Keep the Koran beside yourself to protect yourself’ and he said, ‘That does not work’.”

Dunleavy also told him: “Soon your faith will be tested” but did not explain what he meant.

Mr Razaq said his last meeting with Dunleavy was at the mosque when Dunleavy refused to shake his hand and he gave him his keys back.

Earlier, the trial heard how Mrs Dunleavy may have been given “a Christian burial” on Edinburgh’s Corstorphine Hill.

Forensic archaeologist Dr Jennifer Miller described how Mrs Dunleavy’s remains had been unearthed.

She said: “Everything was facing east. In an archaeological context, that would suggest a Christian burial. It is facing the rising sun.”

Dunleavy – also known as Seamus Dunleavy – denies battering his mother to death between

30 April and 7 May last year. The trial continues.