herald

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Killer dad had drink with pal before murder-suicide

MOOD SWING: Alcohol may have reacted with his medication

Michael Greaney stabbed wife Valerie to death and left daughter Michelle (centre) fighting for her life. She was discovered by her sister Sarah (right)
Michael Greaney stabbed wife Valerie to death and left daughter Michelle (centre) fighting for her life. She was discovered by her sister Sarah (right)

THE DAD who stabbed his wife to death and left his daughter fighting for her life - before turning a knife on himself - went to a friend's house for a drink shortly before the horrific murder-suicide.

Michael Greaney (53) went out at around lunchtime on Sunday to meet a pal for a glass of wine.

He returned to his home in Cobh, Co Cork, less than an hour later for lunch with his wife Valerie (49) and daughter Michelle (21) with the tragedy erupting shortly after 3pm.

"He seemed to be in quite good form coming up to Christmas. I think his friend just wanted to wish him well for Christmas over a quick drink," a former Irish Navy colleague of Mr Greaney's told the Herald.

They expressed fears that the glass of wine may have reacted with his medication to drastically alter his mood.

Mr Greaney was discharged from the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in November having been referred there after an unprovoked attack on a woman in 2013. A full scale review of his case is set to be conducted by the HSE amid garda concerns over Mr Greaney's release back to his home in Cobh.

A source said that all aspects of State agency dealings with Mr Greaney will now be reviewed.

"The object will be to see if lessons can be learned from this terrible tragedy," he said.

The devastating scene at the family home at O'Neill's Place was discovered by the family's youngest daughter, Sarah (16).

Mr Greaney died on a bed upstairs with a stab wound to the heart. A knife was also found in the room.

His wife Valerie was found dead in the hallway while daughter Michelle suffered a stab wound to the chest and defensive injuries to her hands.

She was initially critical in Cork University Hospital (CUH) but has now improved to be serious but stable.

Mr Greaney's 2013 attack on a young woman followed a period where he suffered from insomnia, depression and stress over financial problems.

He had been involved in litigation with three different banks and feared he could lose the family home over his debts.

He was treated in CMH from May 2013 until October 2014 with short periods allowed for day release to his family, including Christmas Day last year, though he was not permitted to stay overnight.

Last night, the HSE said it cannot comment on any review or specifics of individual cases.

"The HSE can not comment on an individual's case. Individuals who are committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) under Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act receive treatment and care."

"Under the Act, the court has the authority to release an individual and not detain them."

TA trained physiotherapist, Mr Greaney's business ran into problems when he expanded shortly before the Celtic Tiger economic crisis.

He had persuaded his wife to use the deeds to the family home to support the venture but didn't tell her when he faced a debt crisis.

Mr Greaney, a Naval Service veteran who served on the LE Fola in 1979/80, had attempted to self-harm on several occasions before.

As bouquets of flowers were left at the scene (inset), Bishop of Cloyne, Dr William Crean - who lives nearby - expressed the community's shock and asked for prayers for the family.

hnews@herald.ie

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