Murder accused ‘admitted doing something bad’

The High Court in Edinburgh heard James Dunleavy told a workmate he had done something bad. Picture: Bill Henry
The High Court in Edinburgh heard James Dunleavy told a workmate he had done something bad. Picture: Bill Henry
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A MAN accused of chopping up his mother and burying her in a shallow grave told a workmate he had done “something bad” - a murder trial heard.

Matthew Hagan, 26, told the High Court in Edinburgh that he recalled a strange conversation while working as a labourer on the city’s trams project.

The trial heard that last July, fellow-labourer James Dunleavy, 40, and Mr Hagan were paired together operating jack-hammers to smash their way through concrete.

Mr Hagan, a joiner to trade, said Dunleavy told him he was going away but would not say why.

“He said he had done something he wasn’t proud of,” he added.

“He said he had done something bad, something he was ashamed of but he wouldn’t reveal to me what it was.”

Mr Hagan, from Glasgow, gave details of the conversation to detectives after Dunleavy’s arrest. He told them Dunleavy’s words were “I have done something bad, brother.”

Dunleavy, said Mr Hagan, told him he was going away.

“I asked him where he was going and he said ‘I don’t know. It could be years, weeks, months.’”

Mr Hagan agreed with defence QC that Dunleavy was someone who would “talk a lot of nonsense” and for him to say things which did not make sense was not unusual.

Dunleavy - also known as Seamus Dunleavy - denies battering to death mum 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 accuses Dunleavy of pretending his mum was unwell and had returned to Ireland.

The charge further alleges that Dunleavy put his mother’s torso, severed legs and head into a suitcase and took the dismembered body to Corstorphine Hill where he buried her.

Prosecutors also claim that Dunleavy vacuumed and washed his flat to remove blood stains and torched a bed and mattress.

The trial continues.