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

The Irish Times - - Home News - NATASHA REID

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.

Insanity

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.

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