Friday 9 December 2016

Victim suffered over 100 knife wounds during psychotic attack

Eoin Reynolds

Published 05/11/2016 | 02:30

'Paul Cuddihy (38), a former resident of St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of 55-year-old Maria O'Brien at St Otteran's on September 5, 2014' (stock photo)
'Paul Cuddihy (38), a former resident of St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of 55-year-old Maria O'Brien at St Otteran's on September 5, 2014' (stock photo)

A man with paranoid schizophrenia was suffering a psychotic episode when he stabbed a woman 100 times and attacked four other people, a jury has found at the Central Criminal Court.

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Paul Cuddihy (38), a former resident of St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of 55-year-old Maria O'Brien at St Otteran's on September 5, 2014.

The jury reached a unanimous verdict on four charges that Mr Cuddihy assaulted fellow hospital resident Mary Nugent and nurses Breda Fennelly, Terry Hayes and Mary Grant, causing them harm.

Justice Patrick McCarthy committed Mr Cuddihy to the Central Mental Hospital and ordered he return to court on November 14 when a doctor will outline a plan for his treatment.

Ms O'Brien's brother Joe O'Mahony said the details of her death had been difficult to hear. Assistant State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis told the court Ms O'Brien had suffered more than 100 knife wounds to the head and face and blunt force trauma that had bruised her head and broken her nose.

She died from blood loss as one of the knife wounds had cut her jugular vein. Mr Cuddihy lived with Ms O'Brien, Ms Nugent and four other people at a residential unit at St Otteran's.

On September 5, the alarm was raised by one of the residents, who called staff from her bedroom saying Mr Cuddihy was attacking someone. Nurses Breda Fennelly and Mary Grant arrived to find Mr Cuddihy in the kitchen standing over Ms Nugent with a knife in his hand.

Mr Cuddihy slashed Ms Fennelly's face with the knife and injured Ms Grant's hands.

When assistant director of St Otteran's Mr Hayes arrived, Mr Cuddihy headbutted, kicked and punched him.

It took five gardaí and members of St Otteran's staff to subdue Mr Cuddihy.

Two forensic psychiatrists told the court Mr Cuddihy was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia many years before.

Irish Independent

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