Courts

Thursday 21 August 2014

Woman 'not guilty by insanity' of her partner's murder

Anne Sharkey

Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30

  • Share
The jury of six men and six women returned with a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity
The jury of six men and six women returned with a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity

A WOMAN has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of her partner at their home.

  • Share
  • Go To

Caroline Roche (52), from Ballyedmond Monamolin in Wexford, pleaded not guilty earlier this week to murdering Walter Plunkett (84) in 2012 by reason of insanity.

The three-day trial heard that Mr Plunkett had lived at the same address in Wexford with his partner Caroline Roche for over 10 years.

In his closing speech, Paul Burns SC reminded the jury that the accused had admitted she killed Mr Plunkett.

He spoke of the evidence given by the state pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy, who said the cause of death was hypoxia caused by a heavy weight to the chest making breathing impossible.

Earlier this week, the court heard that the ribs had been fractured and the ribcage would have been unable to function normally. Dr Cassidy described how the finger joints had been dislocated and the fingers were deformed as a result of being bent back.

Struggle

The jury were told that injuries to the right eye and mouth were consistent with punches and those to the back of the scalp indicate a struggle while on the ground.

Michael Delaney, defending, told the jury what a dangerous affliction it was to suffer from the illness Caroline Roche had and how dangerous it could be if it was not treated in the appropriate way.

Earlier this week, the court heard that Ms Roche had stopped taking her medication a week before the incident because she had been unwell.

The jury were told Ms Roche had believed the devil was going to 'invade her body and mind'.

Mr Delaney concluded with evidence given by consultant psychiatrist with the Central Medical Hospital, Dr Brenda Wright, who said that by reason of her illness, Ms Roche would not have had the capacity to form intent.

Mr Justice Barry White addressed the jury prior to deliberation, reminding them that Dr Wright had come to the conclusion that because Ms Roche was mentally ill, she did not know the nature and quality of what she was doing, she did not know it was wrong and that she was unable to refrain from committing the act.

Mr Justice White said that this was a case where the appropriate verdict was one of not guilty by insanity.

The jury of six men and six women returned with a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Irish Independent

Read More

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News