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Nadine Lott suffered ‘severe blunt force trauma’, murder trial is told

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Nadine Lott suffered “severe blunt force trauma” and stab injuries at the hands of her former partner “in a sustained attack” in her Arklow home, a Central Criminal Court jury has heard.

Opening the trial of Daniel Murtagh on Tuesday, prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC said the court will hear evidence that the injuries to Ms Lott were “so serious” that she never regained consciousness and died three days later in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

Mr Murtagh (34), of Melrose Grove, Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of his 30-year-old ex-partner Ms Lott at her apartment in St Mary’s Court, Arklow, Co Wicklow on December 17th, 2019.

Following the opening address, defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC, for Mr Murtagh, made a number of admissions of fact to the court on behalf of his client. These included that the accused accepted that he had unlawfully killed Ms Lott and he “alone inflicted the injuries she suffered”.

The issue to be decided by the jury, Mr Grehan said, will be his intent and in the “broader sense his mental state at the time”.

Addressing the jury of seven men and five women, Mr O’Kelly said a case “like this can be very distressing” and there would be a lot of “very distressing issues” which will arise in the trial. “But you as judges have to approach the evidence objectively,” he said.

‘Probable consequences’

One cannot get inside the mind of Mr Murtagh on the day when he inflicted those injuries on Ms Lott, Mr O’Kelly said, but what one can do is look at his conduct when he inflicted them and “ask ourselves what are the natural and probable consequences of doing that to someone”.

“If you want to know what someone intended to do, look at what they did,” he added.

Counsel asked the jury to look at the facts, context and conduct of Mr Murtagh when he inflicted the injuries to Ms Lott. “On that basis you will reach your conclusion as to his intent at the time,” he indicated.

Outlining the facts of the case, Mr O’Kelly said that Ms Lott lived in Wicklow and it was arranged that Mr Murtagh would come down from Dublin on the evening of December 13th. It was later decided that Mr Murtagh would stay overnight in Ms Lott’s apartment.

One of the things that made this later arrangement more suitable, the barrister said, was that a birthday party had been organised for Ms Lott’s aunt, which was being held in the local pub. “Friends of the family were going along and Nadine was bringing a cake,” he remarked.

As a result of Mr Murtagh staying overnight in Ms Lott’s apartment, this meant Ms Lott could go to the “family do”, he said.

Met in Australia

Detailing the background of the accused and Ms Lott’s relationship, counsel said they had met in Darwin in Australia when the Arklow woman was on “a year’s working holiday”. Having spent some time in Perth, Ms Lott had moved to Darwin where she met Mr Murtagh, the court heard.

Despite the fact that both individuals were from Ireland, Mr O’Kelly said, they had never encountered each other before their meeting in Darwin. The pair started going out together and Ms Lott later arranged to return to Ireland, he said. Mr Murtagh stayed on in Australia for some months and then he also returned to Ireland.

Upon his return, Mr Murtagh lived with Ms Lott and her mother for some time. The accused and Ms Lott moved into an apartment after a few months but unfortunately that did not really work out, said counsel.

“It ended up with Nadine moving back into her mother’s and Mr Murtagh went back to his parents in Clondalkin,” he said.

Around 2016, Ms Lott and Mr Murtagh got back together again for a short while and they planned to get a house or an apartment but this “fell through”.

On the evening before the killing, Ms Lott got changed and went out to her aunt’s birthday party. The mother-of-one left the party around 1.30am and got a taxi with a couple of other people from the party back to her apartment.

Mr O’Kelly said the events of the next couple of hours are unclear but it did appear that Ms Lott had got dressed for bed as she had changed into her pyjamas and her dress had been folded.

Heard someone scream

Shortly after 3.30am, Mr O’Kelly said the evidence will be that a neighbour heard someone scream. “There was a lot of noise and some time after 4am, the neighbour looked out the window of their apartment and could see that the door to Ms Lott’s apartment was open,” he said.

Eventually one of the neighbours who had looked out of the window decided to go to Ms Lott’s apartment and see what was happening. She saw Ms Lott being “attacked” on the ground of the living room by Mr Murtagh.

The neighbour then contacted emergency services and paramedics came to the scene.

The court will also hear evidence, the lawyer said, from the first garda who arrived at the house before the paramedics. “She was taking instructions over the telephone for CPR,” he added.

Ms Lott’s mother also came to her daughter’s house before paramedics arrived and assisted at the scene.

Ms Lott was brought by ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital. The jury will also hear evidence of how she was “moved on from the trauma team into the intensive care unit” and remained there “under intense treatment” for the next few days until she died on December 17th.

The court heard there will be forensic evidence of what was found in the apartment and a report from the State Pathologist who carried out the post-mortem on the deceased.

Mr O’Kelly said there was evidence of extensive blunt force trauma to Ms Lott’s face, an incised wound to the left side of the neck and a stab wound to the right side of the neck.

“All the injuries combined to cause significant haemorrhage and blood loss and suggest a sustained assault from blunt force trauma. It led to the development of multiple cardiac arrest resulting in traumatic brain injury,” he said.

In relation to the evidence against the accused, Mr O’Kelly said he left the apartment around 4.30am after “the attack” and took his Volvo car from outside and drove it away. “We don’t know what happened for the next few hours,” he said.

Around 7am that morning and some 31 kms away from Ms Lott’s apartment, Mr Murtagh crashed his car into a ditch in Laragh and received some minor injuries.

Some people noticed him and stopped their car to look after him. The jury will hear that Mr Murtagh told the man that he had “killed his wife”.

Mr O’Kelly said the accused also told paramedics that he had “killed his girlfriend”.

“The prosecution submit that what is significant is that when Mr Murtagh met these people the next morning between 7.30am and 8am, his state of mind was that he had killed Nadine,” said counsel.

The trial continues this afternoon before Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and 12 jurors. It is expected to last two weeks.

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Homes near Elizabeth Line see asking prices double in a decade

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Asking prices for properties for sale near stations on London‘s new Elizabeth Line have more than doubled in a decade, new research has revealed.

Many areas near stations on the capital’s new high-speed line were previously less well connected to key commuter hubs, such as Liverpool Street or Paddington stations.

But they have seen a surge in property asking prices amid new interest from homebuyers and tenants due to the better transport links that the Elizabeth Line provides.

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London's Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London’s Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

The new figures from Rightmove revealed the extent to which asking prices have risen in local areas around Maryland, Abbey Wood and Stratford stations.

Maryland Station in Newham, which provides an additional option for those commuting near well-connected Stratford, has seen the biggest jump in asking prices.

They have more than doubled compared to ten years ago, rising 108 per cent from £233,480 to £486,235.

This compares to the London average increase over the past ten years of 55 per cent.

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Meanwhile, Rightmove revealed that total buyer demand has risen the most in western areas, while prices and competition has risen most in eastern areas.

Twyford, at the end of the western section of the line and the next stop along from Reading, has seen the biggest jump in the number of buyers contracting estate agents.

Numbers have more than tripled compared to 10 years ago, up 245 per cent.

Those looking to buy near Abbey Wood station, at the end of the South East section of the line, face the stiffest competition from other buyers.

Competition in that area has soared more than nine times and is up 869 per cent.

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

It is a similar story along the Elizabeth line for tenants as many look to balance their commute into London with where they can afford to rent.

Average rents in London have reached a new record of £2,195 a month, up 14 per cent compared to this time last year.

Southall has seen the biggest increase in the number of tenants contacting letting agents compared to ten years ago, more than quadrupling, up 372 per cent.

However, asking rents near Southall station are lower than nearby Hanwell or Ealing.

Asking rents have increased the most in western stations Slough, up 44 per cent, and Burnham, up 43 per cent, while those looking to rent near Custom House station face the most competition from other tenants.

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line - Custom House - has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line – Custom House – has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

Custom House, one of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line and benefitting from significantly lower travel times into Central London, has seen competition increase by a staggering 33 times, up 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘As the Elizabeth Line opens, it does so with a backdrop of record rents in London, a rising cost of living and a shortage of available homes.

‘Areas further out from central London that have lower asking prices or rents, but are now more easily commutable will be attractive to new buyers and tenants in search of somewhere affordable to live near the capital.

‘Not only this, but new working from home patterns since the pandemic started two years ago will have many people weighing up whether they are prepared to commute from further away if they need to do so less often.’

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National Maternity Hospital decision is a welcome sign of the Government’s backbone

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The Government’s decision to proceed with the building of the new National Maternity Hospital is a welcome sign that the Taoiseach and his Ministers are willing to face up to the Opposition, the social media mob and assorted objectors on an issue of major national importance.

One of the weaknesses of the Coalition since it took office in June 2020 has been a tendency to run scared in the face of contrived outrage, usually fomented by a combination of Opposition politicians and vested interests, often mistakenly portrayed as representing public opinion.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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