Man who stabbed sister found not guilty
Psychiatrists testified he was entitled to a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity Kilkenny man had an ‘almost pathological dislike’ of Dublin
An autistic Kilkenny man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to murder his pregnant sister so she wouldn’t raise her child in Dublin.
The Central Criminal Court trial heard that Daniel O’Connell had first developed homicidal feelings for his sister when she had settled in Dublin years earlier, due to the fear that she would have a baby born and raised there.
He had developed what the prosecution described as “an unnatural and almost pathological dislike of Dublin and Dublin people” as a child, when teased by a group of Dublin youths during a school trip.
He became more upset when he learned of her pregnancy a few months before he attacked her. However, he hoped she might die of natural causes when he heard she had been diagnosed with cancer.
Mr O’Connell admitted during Garda interviews he had tried to kill Olivia O’Connell (now 42) by stabbing her in her Dublin home.
The 33-year-old, with an address at Rosemount, Newpark, Co Kilkenny, had pleaded not guilty to her attempted murder on April 25th, 2016, at Scholarstown Park, Scholarstown Road, Knocklyon.
Consultant psychiatrists for the prosecution and the defence testified that he was entitled to a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.
The trial heard his computer had been used to search for the terms “murder suicide” and “not guilty by reason of insanity”, in the months before the stabbing.
He told gardaí he had travelled to Dublin with a knife, hammer and duct tape, with a plan to kill his sister that Monday, while his parents were away. He said he had planned to kill himself 12 days later.
The jury heard that Ms O’Connell was 26½ weeks pregnant and suffering the effects of chemotherapy when her younger brother arrived at her house unexpectedly.
She was aware of his autism and of his feelings about Dublin. She also knew he was upset about her pregnancy and tried to keep herself covered with a blanket.
The accused went upstairs to use the toilet and came back down wearing latex gloves and carrying a knife. He stabbed her three to four times in the back before she managed to break free.
The accused was still in the area when gardaí arrived, and he admitted the attack and his full motivation. He also said that he was suicidal, didn’t want to be alone in heaven and didn’t want to leave his family.
Garda Niall Russell arrested him under the Mental Health Act and he was seen by a doctor, who sent him to the psychiatric unit in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.
Dr Paul O’Connell of the Central Mental Hospital, for the defence, explained the defence of “not guilty by reason of insanity” required a diagnosis of a mental disorder.
His opinion was that the man’s autism was consistent with that.
Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Anthony Kearns, also of the Central Mental Hospital, testified on behalf of the DPP. “He did not properly understand that what he was doing was wrong,” he said.
Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, said an order could be made committing the accused to the Central Mental Hospital. He is due before the court again on Monday, October 23rd, when a plan for his treatment would be decided.