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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Irish woman 'stabbed her fiance in head 18 months before killing'

Cathrina Cahill fatally wounded fiance David Walsh
Cathrina Cahill fatally wounded fiance David Walsh

A newly-engaged Irish woman who admitted killing her fiance in Sydney was previously convicted of wounding him, a court has been told.

Cathrina Cahill pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh (29) after fatally wounding him in the neck in the early hours of February 18 last year at the home they shared with two other Irish nationals.

The 27-year-old was originally charged with murder, but the Crown accepted her plea to the less serious charge on the basis of substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind at the time.

Abuse

Cahill, from Wexford, gave psychiatrists a history of being in a traumatic relationship with Mr Walsh, hallmarked by physical, emotional and verbal abuse over a period of time.

A sentencing hearing at the New South Wales Supreme Court yesterday heard that Cahill was charged with one count of reckless wounding of Mr Walsh in relation to him being injured after she threw a large candle at him in November 2015.

She was convicted in her absence and placed on a two-year bond in April 2016 at Waverley Local Court in Sydney.

Justice Peter Johnson also heard disputed evidence from a previous housemate of the couple, who testified to seeing Cahill stab Mr Walsh in the back of the head more than 18 months before his death.

Isobel Jennings denied lying when she recalled Cahill saying: "I just wanted to kill him. I just wanted to kill him."

Ms Jennings said that, on the evening of October 3, 2015, after hearing Cahill and Mr Walsh arguing, she saw him sitting on the sofa before Cahill came up the stairs with her hand behind her back.

Cahill suddenly stabbed him to the back of his head three or four times, but Ms Jennings said Mr Walsh did not want her to contact police as he said she had not meant to hurt him.

Under cross-examination from Cahill's barrister, she denied making up the incident, but agreed there had been house-related problems after she moved out and before she made her police statement.

Drinking

According to the agreed statement of facts, Cahill and Mr Walsh argued on the night of February 17, 2017, when they were drinking with others before Mr Walsh was thrown out of a pub and went back to their house in the suburb of Padstow.

After Cahill and their two female housemates arrived home with Matthew Hyde, with whom they had socialised at a pub, Mr Walsh repeatedly attacked the man, wanting to know who he was.

During the ensuing chaos, Cahill screamed: "Stop it Davey, get off, get off ... he's with Grace." She tried to get a grip of her fiance's arms when he swung his arm back and she fell to the ground.

She moved towards him and punched him in the face with a closed fist, before Mr Walsh pushed her again and tried to punch her in the face.

Eventually, "the offender opened and closed the cutlery drawer quickly taking out a large, very sharp bladed knife".

One witness said over and over again "put it back" but Cahill replied: "No, he needs to be taught a lesson. It's not fair."

Mr Walsh had five brothers, a sister and parents in Ireland at the time of his death.

One brother wrote that their father died 10 months later "from a broken heart", while their mother had become an empty shell of her former self.

The hearing will continue today.

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