Murdered accused tells how he strangled Derry mother

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A Derry father-of-one on trial charged with murdering the mother-of his unborn son has told a jury how he strangled her.

Stephen Cahoon of Harvey Street in the city yesterday (Tuesday) entered the witness box in his murder trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

The 39-year-old admits killing ex-girlfriend Jean Quigley in her home in Cornshell Fields Derry, when she was 10 weeks pregnant. However, he has pleaded not guilty to murdering the 30-year-old mother-of-four on Saturday July 26 2008.

He testified that they had broken up weeks earlier, had a serious fight a couple of nights before she died and hadn’t seen each other since.

However he said he called a taxi to take him to her house about 2am on the day she died. He said that he wanted to give her money to buy food for their dogs.

He said the taxi driver was wrong when he said he had a bag with him, insisting that he had only the clothes on his back.

He said he knocked on her living room window and she asked him what he wanted.

He said he told her why he was there, that she opened the door and told him that he wouldn’t be staying.

“I said just five minutes and that’s it,” he testified.

He said that they went into her living room and sat down.

“I asked her had she any drink. She said there was blue WKD in the fridge. I grabbed a couple,” he said.

He said they chatted for about 40 minutes before she said she was going to bed and that he could sleep on the couch. He said she later told him he could sleep with her.

He said they ended up having sex. She had restrained him first with handcuffs and tape, he claimed. He said they then shared a few cigarettes before he told her it was her turn to be restrained during sex.

“She wasn’t really up for it but she agreed,” he said.

He said that his phone rang during sex and that when he informed her that the caller was a female friend, she told him to get out.

“I said: ‘I didn’t do nothing. You already told me I could stay the night,” he testified. “I said I wanted to stay with her and my baby.”

He claimed that she then told him it wasn’t her baby, that she didn’t give a f**k about it and was going to have an abortion.

“That’s when I lost it and grabbed her,” he said. “I snapped. I saw red.”

He said she had got him mad and he pushed her onto the bed.

“I grabbed her by the throat,” he continued. “I just wanted her to stop saying what she was saying, to be quiet.”

“I put my hand over her throat and held it there for about 30 seconds,” he said. “She was struggling.”

He said that she was not saying anything.

“She was wriggling and stuff like that. She turned a purply colour and I stopped then,” he said. When I stopped, she wasn’t saying nothing or moving.”

He said he started shaking her and calling her name.

“I heard a gargling noise coming from her mouth and then saw frothy stuff coming from her mouth,” he said.

He said he wiped her mouth with a sock from the floor and tried to give her CPR, but it didn’t work.

“I stood there thinking, hoping she was alright,” he said, adding that he then went to the toilet and got dressed.

He said he removed the front-door key from a bunch hanging inside the door, locked the door from the outside and threw away the key.

He said he then went to a green area, sat down and cried, before ringing a taxi to take him home.

He said he didn’t call the police or an ambulance because he ‘thought she was ok’.

He said he slept for about an hour, before getting up and taking a bus to Letterkenny and another to Galway.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Barry White and a jury of seven women and five men.