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Friday 19 January 2018

Man committed after stabbing sister who was carrying 'Dublin baby'

Olivia O’Connell was stabbed
Olivia O’Connell was stabbed

A Kilkenny man has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) after being found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to murder his pregnant sister so she wouldn't raise her child in Dublin.

A Central Criminal Court judge made the order yesterday morning, two weeks after a jury returned the special verdict following the trial of Daniel O'Connell (33).

Mr Justice Paul Butler had remanded him to the hospital for the required 14 days under the Insanity Act.

James Dwyer, for the State, informed the judge that consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Anthony Kearns had prepared the required report during that time.

"There's evidence before the court, which would warrant such an order being made," he said.

He was referring to an order committing Mr O'Connell to the CMH, where he would receive the inpatient care or treatment needed for the mental disorder from which he suffered.

The judge said that he had thoroughly read the report and noted that there was a bed available in the hospital.

"The evidence is only one way in this matter. In those circumstances, I make the order," he said.

Homicidal

Mr O'Connell, who had been brought to court by staff from the CMH, was then accompanied from court by his family and returned to the hospital by the CMH staff.

The trial heard that Mr O'Connell, who is autistic, had first developed homicidal feelings for his sister when she had settled in Dublin years earlier.

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 youths from the capital during a school trip to Mosney.

He became more upset when he learned of her pregnancy a few months before he attacked her. However, he had hoped that she might die of natural causes when he heard that she had been diagnosed with cancer around the same time.

This didn't happen and Mr O'Connell admitted during interviews with gardai that he had tried to kill Olivia O'Connell (42) by stabbing her a number of times in her Dublin home.

However, Mr O'Connell, of Rosemount, Newpark, Co Kilkenny, had pleaded not guilty to her attempted murder on April 25, 2016, at Scholarstown Park, Knocklyon.

Consultant psychiatrists for both the prosecution and the defence testified that he was entitled to a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr Justice Butler said that it must have been an absolutely horrendous experience for the victim.

However, he summarised the medical conclusions for the jury, saying he did not think that it would have difficulty in reaching a unanimous verdict.

The jury returned with that unanimous verdict following two hours and six minutes of deliberations.

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