Corstorphine Hill murder evidence ‘circumstantial’

Police at the scene of the murder. Picture: TSPL
Police at the scene of the murder. Picture: TSPL
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THE TRIAL of a man accused of dismembering his mother and burying her in a shallow grave was told today that there would always be unanswered questions.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, began his closing speech to the jury by saying that James Dunleavy, 40, had indeed done “something bad”.

Workmate Matthew Hagan, 26, claims Dunleavy made the comment to him just days before his arrest.

Mr Prentice went on to tell the jury that the case against Dunleavy was a circumstantial one in which pieces of evidence came together like strands in a cable.

“This is a classic case of that type,” said the prosecutor. “There will be some unanswered questions in this case, some unresolved issues.”

He suggested some of the jury might have hoped at the begining of the trial that it would be interesting.

“But as is often the case in our courts there is a great deal of tragedy and misery unfolding which you have to hear.”

Dunleavy - also known as Seamus Dunleavy - denies battering to death his mother Philomena, 66, of Marino, Dublin between April 30 and May 7 last year.

He also denies attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to cover up the alleged murder and destroy evidence.

At the time, Dunleavy was living in a flat Edinburgh’s Balgreen Road.

The murder charge alleges that it was there that he inflicted “blunt force trauma” by means unknown, compressed his mother’s throat and cut off her head and legs with a blade and something like a saw.

A second charge - as now amended - accuses Dunleavy of transporting his mother’s dismembered body to a secluded clearing on Corstorphine Hill and burying her there.

The trial at the High Court in Edinburgh continues.