MAN NOT GUILTY DUE TO INSANITY
GREYSTONES 26-YEAR-OLD STABBED HIS MOTHER SEVERAL TIMES
A MAN WHO stabbed his mother several times leaving her in a critical condition was found not guilty by reason of insanity at Wicklow Circuit Court last week.
Daryl Sweeney (26), 243 Charlesland Park, Greystones, was charged with assaulting his mother, Susan Sweeney, causing her harm, assaulting his mother causing her serious harm and production of a knife in the course of the assault at their home in Charlesland Park on September 8, 2008.
Sweeney’s case was only before the court last week as he was previously found to be unfit to be tried because of mental health difficulties.
Sweeney’s mother, Susan Sweeney (52), wasn’t in court to give evidence against her son but her statement was read into the court.
In it she said that in September 2008 she lived with Daryl and her daughter Claire in Charlesland Park, having moved there from their previous home in Kilmantin Park, Bray a month previously.
She said she had separated from Daryl and Claire’s father, Jerome, some time prior to the move.
In the statement she outlined that when Daryl was five years old she had taken him to a psychiatrist after he had said he wanted to kill himself. He saw the psychiatrist for six weeks and received no further treatment.
She said Daryl didn’t have a good relationship with his father and was ‘from time to time’ assaulted by his father.
In 2003 when he was 17 years old she said Daryl became paranoid and said the walls of the house were bugged. ‘He was making no sense and appeared to have mad eyes’.
He eventually calmed down and after being examined by a doctor agreed to go voluntarily to Newcastle Hospital.
However, on the way he changed his mind and in the end gardaí and an ambulance had to be called to bring him to Newcastle.
He stayed there for a week and received follow-up treatment and medication including an anti-psychotic. He appeared to be doing well and started socialising again.
In 2007 he was continuing to do well, and under medical supervision he was weaned off his medication, becoming medication-free in early 2008.
On August 29, 2008 he went with her to buy a microwave and was ‘in good from and said I was a great woman and anything that had happened wasn’t my fault’.
She went onto say that the following day he went missing for a number of days. While he was gone she received two texts from him which were unusual. One read: ‘I will be home soon Susan’. The other read: ‘See you in hell you damn bi**h’.
Some days after he went missing he called her from a payphone in Heuston Station and asked her to collect him, saying he had been sleeping rough in Wexford and Waterford. His bag had been stolen. Ms Sweeney’s statement outlined how Daryl ‘appeared very anxious’ and it was suggested that he go back on his medication, but he said he didn’t want to.
On the day of the stabbing she returned home at 7pm and he was sitting on the couch doing maths with the knife beside him. He had a new phone and she thought he had been using it to open the battery compartment.
In her statement she said she saw Daryl put a chair against the sitting room door and she ‘immediately got worried and afraid’. ‘ He came towards me’, she said.
‘I don’t remember saying anything and he raised his left arm and lunged at me stabbing me in the upper body. I could feel the knife stabbing into my body.’
She said she remained on the couch trying to protect herself and shouted up at her daughter Claire to get out of the house because ‘Daryl had gone mad’.
She told how she attempted to stop the bleeding with her hand saying she was ‘ bleeding very heavy’.
In her statement Ms Sweeney said ‘ he was completely vacant’. ‘His eyes were dead,’ she said.
She said her son left the house, jumping off the balcony, and she was afraid he’d come back.
Her daughter Claire came down the stairs and gained access to the sitting room and called the emergency services. ‘Claire told me not to die. I knew I was seriously injured.
‘Prior to the stabbing everything seemed normal.’
She went on to say: ‘ If Daryl got treatment I think that over time we could have a good relationship again. I believe when he stabbed me he wasn’t in his right mind.’
Both Daryl Sweeney’s sisters, Cathy and Claire, gave evidence of how he had become agitated and withdrawn in the lead-up to the stabbing and how he enjoyed a close relationship with their mother.
They were also in court to support him throughout the trial, as was his cousin Patrick O’Brien.
The court heard that Daryl Sweeney has been in the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin since September 2008.
Daryl Sweeney at a previous court sitting at Bray Courthouse.