Entered house with running chainsaw
NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY
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.