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Woman on trial for knife attack 'was angry not insane', court told

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Accused Laura Kenna outside the Central Criminal Court

Accused Laura Kenna outside the Central Criminal Court

Collins Courts.

Accused Laura Kenna outside the Central Criminal Court

A woman did not attack her victim with a knife because of "delusional" impulses but because of "anger" and "a sense of entitlement", a consultant psychiatrist has told her trial.

Laura Kenna (37), of no fixed abode, is charged with attempting to murder Fionnuala Burke on Lower Drumcondra Road, in Dublin, on January 3, 2017, and assault causing serious harm on the same occasion. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to both counts.

Called to give evidence by prosecution counsel Anthony Sammon SC, Dr Harry Kennedy said it was his opinion that the attack would not come "under the definition of insanity".

Reading from his psychiatric evaluation of Ms Kenna, Dr Kennedy told the Central Criminal Court that she had the "ability to fabricate for her own interests" by refusing to answer certain questions when being interviewed by gardai.

He said Ms Kenna made "flippant" and "misleading" replies for her own benefit, such as saying she had "walked to Belfast following the attack".

He added that after carrying out the attack Ms Kenna had argued with a worker at Drumcondra Railway Station about buying a train ticket.

Dr Kennedy referred to her as an "inconsistent historian", saying she had "callous" and "unemotional" personality traits.

Money

He added that Ms Kenna said on the night of the attack that she "followed another woman but let her go", which he said indicated she knew what she was doing in selecting her victim.

Dr Kennedy said there was no evidence in his evaluation of the accused that she could "not refrain from the attack".

He said that rather it was done in "anger" and involved a "sense of entitlement" as Ms Kenna later mentioned to the gardai on numerous occasions that she "needed money".

He also told the court that Ms Kenna said at one point she was "disappointed she didn't kill the victim" and that in his opinion she did not seem to be operating under "delusional" impulses.

Dr Kennedy said she was more mentally well when she was on medication for her illness and abstaining from taking intoxicants.

He referred to a previous occasion when Ms Kenna attacked a woman at a Luas stop by stabbing her in the face with a pen.

He said he believed Ms Kenna was "hearing voices" at this time as she appeared to believe she had been insulted by the victim.

Dr Kennedy said that, in regard to the attack on Ms Burke, Ms Kenna was talking about stealing her handbag and did not appear to be suffering from a schizoaffective episode.

When being cross-examined by Ms Kenna's barrister, Mr Barry White SC, Dr Kennedy was asked if he was "here to carry a shield for the prosecution".

Mad

Referring to Dr Kennedy's analysis of Ms Kenna's mental state during the previous attack, Mr White asked if it was likely she would go from being "mad to bad to mad [again]".

Dr Kennedy responded by saying "the natural history" of schizoaffective disorder "varies rapidly from day to day".

On Wednesday, another consultant psychiatrist, Dr Stephen Monks, told the court that he believed Ms Kenna was not aware of the nature of her actions during the attack.

The trial continues.


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