herald

Thursday 15 November 2018

Son who stabbed mum in head to 'set her free' found guilty of murder

Paul Horgan ‘whistled a marching tune’ after murder
Paul Horgan ‘whistled a marching tune’ after murder

A young man who said he only intended to set his mother free because of the cruelty of life has been convicted of her murder after stabbing her in the head with a broken kitchen knife.

Paul Horgan (27) remained emotionless as a Central Criminal Court jury convicted him of the murder of his mother, Marian (60), after deliberating for just over an hour.

Judge Patrick McCarthy imposed a mandatory life sentence after being told the Horgan family did not wish to make a victim impact statement.

Ms Horgan was fatally stabbed at her home in Murmount Avenue, Montenotte, Cork, on November 23, 2015.

A broken kitchen knife was found embedded in her head.

The blade had been driven through the back of her skull, severing her jugular vein. It ran underneath her jawbone and lodged in her tongue.

The defendant insisted to the trial that he only intended to set free his parents, Marian and Billy Horgan, and then free himself.

Horgan earlier drank two bottles of wine while watching seven episodes of Family Guy and then a Harry Potter film, as he insisted to arresting gardai he had absolutely no recollection of the fatal stabbing.

Gardai found his mother lying in a pool of blood between the kitchen and hallway of her home with the broken knife protruding from the back of her head.

His father, Billy, had also suffered serious injuries.

However, Horgan insisted he did not intend to kill anyone.

"I wanted to set her free, not that I meant to kill her," he had said.

Regret

"I did not intend to kill her. I intended to set her free because life is so cruel. My own life was cruel too. My mother did not deserve cruelty."

He acknowledged that he had the same intention for his father and himself.

"I was going to set him free too," he said.

The three-day trial was told that while Billy Horgan suffered serious injuries, he had refused to press charges against his son.

The young man, in answer to a question referencing his father, expressed his regret.

"Yeah, I am so sorry - I didn't mean it at all," he said.

He said he does not recall the events of that morning.

"Horrible - it is hard to listen to everything in evidence. But I don't remember it," Horgan said.

In cross-examination, Tom Creed, for the State, pointed out that Horgan was assessed in the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dundrum.

"At the time of this offence you were not suffering from a mental disorder," Mr Creed said.

The defendant insisted he was only found not to be suffering from "a serious mental disorder".

However, Mr Creed challenged that and pointed to a CMH report, which stressed that the defendant was not assessed as suffering from a mental disorder as defined under legislation.

Horgan said: "It was not like my thoughts were normal."

He explained that, after the confrontation with his parents, he had walked back upstairs, leaving a blood trail behind him.

"I was walking upstairs whist- ling a marching tune I was hearing," he said.

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