Sunday 25 September 2016

'It took a lot out of me to do this - I'm after killing my mother,' man told gardaí

Alison O'Riordan

Published 16/02/2016 | 02:30

Paul Henry told gardaí: ‘I’m after killing my mother.’ Picture: Hany Marzouk
Paul Henry told gardaí: ‘I’m after killing my mother.’ Picture: Hany Marzouk
Ann Henry: Post-mortem found 10 wounds on her body

A man stabbed his mother to death the month after a mental health tribunal had decided that he did not fulfil the criteria to be detained at a psychiatric unit, a jury has heard.

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Paul Henry (29), of Ardsallagh, Athlone Road, Roscommon, is charged with murdering his mother, Ann Henry, at Abbeytown, Ballyphesan, in Roscommon town on September 17, 2011.

Yesterday at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Henry pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Henry by reason of insanity.

However, defence counsel Colm Smyth, SC, told the court his client admitted that he killed his mother.

It is alleged that on September 17, 2011 Mr Henry stabbed his mother in her house at The Spinney, Abbeytown, Roscommon and then continued "to kick and punch" her.

Prosecution for the State, Caroline Biggs SC, said Mr Henry told gardaí at the time: "It took a lot out of me to do this - I'm after killing my mother."

A post-mortem examination by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis found Ms Henry had sustained 10 wounds.

Ms Biggs said the court would hear from two psychiatrists who agreed that Mr Henry "was suffering from a mental disorder."

The court heard that from an early age Mr Henry presented with "very significant difficulties" and was initially diagnosed with ADHD, which progressed into more serious diagnoses.

In 2010, following Mr Henry's release from prison, his mental health deteriorated and in July 2011 he was committed on an "involuntary basis" to hospital.

"In the days and weeks prior to the killing of his mother, his behaviour deteriorated even further. He had a disturbed view of his mother and tragically, she was the person who loved him most. Prior to Ms Henry's death, her son sent her texts threatening to cut off her fingers," she said.

"A culmination of statements from friends and family members will lead you to have no doubt that Mr Henry's mood at the time when these events occurred was very disturbed indeed."

The court also heard one witness described a man pursuing Ms Henry as she ran towards the main road, screaming and with blood on her forehead.

"He was shouting at her and going around her body, kicking her in the head, ribs and back. She said he looked crazy, his pupils were huge," read Ms Biggs.

Another witness said the man had a brush in his hands and started to hit Ms Henry's legs with it. When it broke, he started to kick her.

At 2pm on September 17, the gardaí received a 999 call from a woman saying there was a violent assault taking place and Mr Henry was arrested for assault causing harm.

The court heard when Mr Henry was placed in the rear of the patrol car he said to Gda Delaney: "It took a lot out of me."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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