En­tered house with run­ning chain­saw


Bray People - - NEWS -

A GLE­NEALY man who en­tered a house with a run­ning chain­saw was found not guilty by rea­son of in­san­ity at Wicklow Cir­cuit Court last week.

Mark Phe­lan (29), 8, Bal­lyfree, Gle­nealy was charged with ag­gra­vated bur­glary of a car key and the unau­tho­rised of a car be­long­ing to San­dra Molumby at Sica Lodge, Gle­nealy on June 5, 2011.

The court heard Phe­lan had en­tered Sika Lodge at around 8.30am on June 5 with a run­ning chain­saw say­ing he wanted the key of the Lan­drover, money and any guns in the house. There was a num­ber of peo­ple in the house in­clud­ing chil­dren.

Sgt. Mary Burbage said Phe­lan had been ad­mit­ted to New­cas­tle Hospi­tal on June 5. He was sub­se­quently re­leased and in­ter­viewed on June 29.

Dur­ing in­ter­view he said he had feel feel­ing un­well for some days prior to the of­fence. ‘In my mind all my re­la­tions were try­ing to kill me. They were go­ing to tor­ture me. They were go­ing to set up road blocks. All sorts of sce­nar­ios were go­ing through my head. They were go­ing to chop me up and leave me in the Gap. It was like a pre­mo­ni­tion and I could see it play­ing out in my mind’, he said.

Phe­lan was ad­mit­ted to New­cas­tle Hospi­tal for seven days from June 5 and was placed on an anti psy­chotic and a sleep­ing tablet.

A report from Dr. Bren­dan Cud­dihy who ex­am­ined Phe­lan on June 5 was also be­fore the court.

He said on ar­rival he found Phe­lan to be ‘acutely psy­chotic and in fear of his own life’.

Phe­lan be­lieved that the IRA were in pur­suit of him and be­lieved that a newly con­structed wall in a neigh­bour’s garden was for his ex­e­cu­tion.

‘He had a large kitchen knife at his chest’, said the report.

Con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist Dr. Conor O’Neill said Phe­lan had been put on an anti psy­chotic drug which was grad­u­ally re­duced from 200mg to 50mg and he re­mains on that.

He said that it was his opin­ion that Phe­lan was ‘suf­fer­ing from a men­tal health dis­or­der un­der the Men­tal Health Act’ in early June 2011.

He said that the of­fence had been ‘di­rectly driven by para­noia and he was un­able to re­frain from com­mit­ting the ac­tion and didn’t know what he was do­ing was wrong.’

Dr. O’Neill said Phe­lan de­nied tak­ing any drugs at the time and said two drug screens were neg­a­tive.

Dr. Paul O’Con­nell said Phe­lan had tried to stop his med­i­ca­tion last year but quickly no­ticed that he thought peo­ple were af­ter him and im­me­di­ately restarted his treat­ment.

Dr. O’Con­nell said he be­lieved Phe­lan was suf­fer­ing from a men­tal dis­or­der at the time and gave a di­ag­no­sis of acute para­noid psy­chosis. He said Phe­lan was so im­paired ‘ he was un­able to know what he was go­ing was morally wrong and couldn’t re­frain from do­ing it’.

Af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing for some 23 min­utes the jury of six men and six women re­turned a unan­i­mous ver­dict of not guilty by rea­son of in­san­ity on both charges.

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