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Friday 29 August 2014

Man who killed his mother is not guilty but insane

Caroline Crawford

Published 02/05/2014 | 02:30

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A MAN who stabbed his mother 10 times before carrying out a prolonged assault on her, kicking, punching and beating her with the handle of a brush, has been found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity.

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Paul Henry (28) had denied the murder of his mother Ann Henry, who died outside her home at The Spinney, Abbeytown, Roscommon on September 17, 2011. The jury of six men and six women returned the verdict after deliberating for over three hours.

Prosecution counsel Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC told the jury that it was "a very, very sad case on any view of it". She said the net issue in question was the legal sanity of Henry at the time of the incident.

Defence counsel Bernard Madden told the jury that from the age of 10, Henry had required the assistance of state services.

"It was beyond the medical institutions in this country to deal with him at an early age and provide adequate treatment," he said.

Mr Madden described Henry as "a person who was vulnerable and he needed help." He said there had been missed opportunities to give Henry proper treatment, including his release from a mental institution just weeks before he attacked his mother.

He said the trial had been very difficult for everyone concerned, particularly the family.

"There is nothing more difficult in my view than a parent having to come to court to see their son or daughter up on a charge. It is made even more difficult when it is a charge of murder and the victim is the son's mother.

FAMILY

"The effect on the family has to be very great and the trauma has to be recognised. It has cost Mr Henry his family in that his son is not a free man and won't be after this.

"He has also lost his wife, they had been separated but she was still a member of his family and the carer for Paul."

Judge Paul Carney reiterated the evidence for the jury including the evidence of one witness who saw Henry attack on his mother. "He was methodically kicking her as if he was not in a rush," she stated.

Judge Carney had earlier told the jury that they had four options in front of them. They could return verdicts of guilty, not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity and not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The judge adjourned the case to May 7 for a report from the Central Mental Hospital.

Irish Independent

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