Wednesday 16 January 2019

Man who stabbed pregnant sister 4 times found not guilty but insane

Stabbing victim Olivia O'Connell leaves court after the verdict
Stabbing victim Olivia O'Connell leaves court after the verdict

A man who stabbed his pregnant sister in the back because she was "carrying a Dublin baby" has been found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity.

Daniel O'Connell (33) did not react as the jury delivered a unanimous verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr O'Connell, who has Asperger's syndrome, had developed an "unnatural, almost pathological dislike" of Dublin and its people when he decided he had to attack his older sister Olivia O'Connell (42).

He went to her home in the south of the city, where he set upon her, stabbing her four times before she managed to wrestle the knife off him.

Ms O'Connell, who was being treated for cancer at the time, survived and her baby was born healthy.

Her brother, of Rosemount, Newpark, Co Kilkenny, pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder her at Scholarstown Park, Knocklyon, on April 25, 2016.


Mr O'Connell, dressed in a grey open-neck shirt and navy jeans, looked straight at the jury as the verdict was read out.

His sister, who was present throughout the two-day trial, was not required to address the court. Mr Justice Paul Butler made an order committing Mr O'Connell to the Central Mental Hospital.

The judge commended lead investigator Garda Niall Russell, and added: "My sympathy to the victim of a horrendous attack."

The jury had heard Mr O'Connell did not want his sister's unborn child to be brought up in the capital and his "profound and enduring resentment" toward Dublin people stemmed from a childhood incident in which he was teased by other boys on a trip to Mosney.

In her statement to gardai, Ms O'Connell said she was sitting on her sofa when her brother "came at me at a faster than normal pace".

He was wearing surgical latex gloves and had a knife.

She jumped up and tried to take the knife from him.

"He reached over my shoulder and stabbed me in the back three to four times," she said.

Ms O'Connell pleaded with him, got the knife and ran to the back door, but it was locked and he had taken the key.

As she ran for the front door, he grabbed her dressing gown, but it ripped and she escaped.


On arrest, Mr O'Connell had a black bag with a hammer and duct tape in it.

He told gardai he had first decided to kill his sister on December 27, 2015.

"I heard that she was pregnant and I didn't like the idea of her bringing up a baby in Dublin so I decided to do away with her," he said.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Paul O'Connell, for the defence, concluded that while Mr O'Connell knew what he was doing was legally wrong "his capacity to appreciate the moral significance of his actions was impaired" and he could not refrain from doing what he did.

"He did not properly understand that what he was doing was wrong," Dr Anthony Kearns, on behalf of the prosecution, said.

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