A psychiatrist has told the Central Criminal Court that a man accused of killing a bread deliveryman was suffering from a mental illness, which would have substantially diminished his responsibility at the time of the killing.
John Coughlan (33) of Pineview Gardens, Moyross has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Daniel Treacy (35) at Topaz garage, Caherdavin, Ennis Road on February 22, 2010.
But last week the court was told the plea was not acceptable to the prosecution and a jury was sworn in for his trial.
Mr Treacy was in the garage when Mr Coughlan walked in and shot him three times in the head and once in the groin with a handgun at close range before driving off.
The trial has already heard that Mr Coughlan’s brother Darren was killed in November 2005 when he was beaten up by a number of people including the deceased’s brother.
It is the prosecution’s case that this shooting was deliberately carried out as revenge.
The defence say Mr Coughlan was ill at the time and had diminished responsibility.
Today, consultant psychiatrist Dr Ian Bownes told the court that Mr Coughlan was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the Central Mental Hospital on June 10, 2010.
Dr Bownes said it was probable that he was suffering from the recognised mental illness at the time he shot Mr Treacy.
He told Mr Brian McCartney QC defending that Mr Coughlan was hearing three voices in his head and he believed they were associated with his brother’s killing.
The court heard Mr Coughlan told him “My mind snapped, I just went into the shop and shot him”.
Under cross-examination by Una Ni Raifeartaigh, he agreed that the accused had told him he was on the way to kill himself in the woods when he walked into the Topaz by coincidence and shot Mr Treacy.
Superintendent Robert Noonan told Ms Ni Raifeartaigh that he was involved in the investigation into the death of Darren Coughlan who was fatally assaulted on November 4, 2005.
He said Mr Treacy’s brother pleaded guilty to Mr Coughlan’s manslaughter as well as a number of other people including a person related to a Limerick gang.
Previously Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, who carried out a post mortem at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, told the court that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.
The trial continues with Mr Justice Paul Carney presiding.