Courts

Friday 25 July 2014

Murder accused said 'it took a lot out of me to do that', trial told

Caroline Crawford

Published 01/05/2014|02:30

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29/04/2014 Paul Henry, Roscommon arriving at Castlebar Court to face trial for the murder of his mother Ann Henry. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
29/04/2014 Paul Henry, Roscommon arriving at Castlebar Court to face trial for the murder of his mother Ann Henry. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
Ann Henry

A YOUNG man who allegedly stabbed his mother 10 times and beat her with a brush handle told gardai "it took a lot out of me to do that" immediately after the assault, a murder trial has heard.

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Paul Henry (28) denies the murder of his mother Ann Henry who died outside her home at The Spinney, Abbeytown, Roscommon, on September 17, 2011.

It also emerged that Mr Henry had stopped midway through the alleged attack on his mother to chase a Brazilian woman, who witnessed the assault, into her house.

He allegedly interrupted the attack on his mother and chased after the woman who had been screaming at him to get away from his mother. However, he was chased from the home by a group of men who happened to be present.

The court also heard Mr Henry had been released from a mental hospital just four weeks before the fatal attack.

His murder trial heard that, despite ongoing mental issues, Mr Henry was released from a mental health facility on August 11. His release was against the advice of his treating medical team. Following his release he immediately stopped taking his medication and failed to turn up for out-patient appointments with the service. Attempts by his medical team to reach him with phone calls and visits to his home went unanswered.

Just over four weeks later it is alleged he carried out the assault on his mother, with whom he lived, following a row about his need to get new accommodation because she was moving to Athlone.

It is alleged he stabbed his mother 10 times with a kitchen knife in the kitchen of her home. As she stumbled from the house and lay seriously injured on the ground, he allegedly kicked her and beat her with a brush handle until it broke.

The Central Criminal Court sitting in Castlebar before Justice Paul Carney heard evidence from Dr Tom Fahy, a professor of forensic mental health. He said he believed Mr Henry did not meet the criteria for an insanity plea, and was instead suffering from diminished responsibility at the time.

Dr Fahy, an expert witness for the defence, said Henry had an "awareness" of his actions.

"He knew he was injuring her. He did have an awareness of what he was doing," explained Dr Fahy.

But this was disputed by Dr Brenda Wright, consultant psychiatrist with the Central Mental Hospital.

She told the court that in her opinion he did not understand the nature and quality of his actions.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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