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Killer Lyness who cut fiancee Anita Downey's throat to appeal conviction


Challenge: David Lyness

Challenge: David Lyness

Challenge: David Lyness

A man jailed for the cut-throat murder of his fiancee is mounting a legal bid to overturn his conviction.

David Lyness is currently serving a minimum of 18 years behind bars for killing Anita Downey in Lurgan, Co Armagh in January 2017. Lyness (54) claimed Ms Downey had been holding the knife which caused the fatal neck wound at his Toberhewney Hall home.

The Court of Appeal yesterday listed his challenge to being found guilty of her murder for a two-day hearing in May. But judges rejected an attempt to dismiss his legal team, ruling that the application had no merit.

It means Lyness, who previously sacked a number of lawyers, must either stick with his current representatives or mount the appeal by himself.

He was unanimously convicted by a jury at Belfast Crown Court in 2018.

Ms Downey, a 51-year-old mother-of-three, bled to death on the floor of Lyness's house from a wound to the left side of her neck.

He maintained that she had come at him with a knife during a drink-fuelled argument. Lyness claimed that he tried to disarm her in a frantic struggle when they both ended up on the floor.

When he noticed blood coming from her, according to his version of events, he tried to take his own life by cutting his throat and lying down beside her.

But at trial the jury heard evidence from Lyness's son, who said he witnessed his father straddling Ms Downey and "sawing" at her neck with a knife.

Lyness was brought from prison yesterday for a hearing to deal with his legal representation at the appeal. He raised a number of issues with the judges, who stressed the case's complexities.

Referring to a previous point of dispute raised by Lyness, Lord Justice Stephens said: "I have tried to analyse one of these reasons and it totally fell apart."

He confirmed the appeal will proceed on May 14 and 15.

Belfast Telegraph