Psychiatrist points to ‘full-blown schizophrenic illness’
THE COURT also heard that Susan Sweeney received five stab wounds to her chest area and needed six units of blood as she had ‘a very dramatic blood loss’ after the stabbing.
Consultant cardothoracic surgeon Michael Tolan performed emergency surgery on Ms Sweeney to repair a laceration to her miacardium, which, he said, ‘would surely have caused her death if left open’.
Garda John Deasy gave evidence, saying that shortly after the stabbing Daryl Sweeney flagged down the garda car, saying, ‘it’s me you’re looking for, I’m Daryl Sweeney’, and told Garda Deasy he had stabbed his mother a number of times. He told Garda Deasy he believed his family were spiking his drinks.
Consultant psychiatrist Professor Patricia Casey said Daryl was treated in 2003 for a psy- chotic illness where he had lost contact with reality believing the house to be bugged.
She said in August 2008 he began to think his family were trying to harm him.
At the time of the stabbing in September 2008 his state of mind was ‘extremely disturbed’.
Professor Casey said he had been hearing two voices and these auditory hallucinations are typical of a schizophrenic. He was also suffering from persecutory delusions and showed catatonic traits. She said he had received electroconvulsive treatment, which was a rare treatment, when admitted to hospital after the stabbing as he was ‘extremely, extremely ill’.
She said he is still suffering from a mental disorder and should be involuntarily detained, but said he was responding to treatment.
Professor Casey said it was her opinion that Daryl Sweeney is suffering from a ‘ full- blown schizophrenic illness’ and ‘ his behaviour meets the criteria for insanity under Section Five of the Insanity Act in that he was suffering from persecutory delusions and didn’t know what he was doing was wrong’.
For the state, barrister Paul Murray said it was a ‘ very sad case’ and said there were three verdicts open to the jury, guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.
For Sweeney, barrister Ed Sweetman said it was his belief that the only verdict the jury should return was not guilty by reason of insanity. ‘ This is a very sad case, a tragic case of a young man who clearly had a significant mental illness from 2003.’
After some 40 minutes deliberation the jury of six men and six women returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Sweeney was remanded in custody until tomorrow ( Wednesday) to allow for a medical report.
■ Gardaí at the Sweeneys’ house in September 2008.
■ Professor Patricia Casey.