Husband avoids jail for trying to kill wife
Published 31/07/2010 | 05:00
A 48-year-old man who tried to kill his mentally ill wife with a hammer because she wouldn't stop talking has received a five-year suspended sentence at the Central Criminal Court.
Fintan Murphy, who was originally charged with the attempted murder of Margaret Murphy in October 2008, told gardai that he hit her because "she wouldn't stop talking. I just wanted to shut her up she just talks and talks".
He said he had planned to hang himself with a belt afterwards. The court heard that Ms Murphy suffered from bi-polar disorder at the time and Fintan Murphy suffered from clinical depression, but had not taken his medication for two months prior to the assault.
In the hours before the attack, Ms Murphy had been having a psychotic episode, hearing voices and hallucinating, and had imagined there were people outside the house.
At around 8am that morning, Murphy made a 999 call and told gardai: " I just tried to kill my wife. She is full of blood and has injuries to her head."
When they arrived at the scene, they found Murphy soaked in blood and his wife in an upstairs bedroom conscious and covered in blood.
Murphy was arrested and brought to Waterford garda station, where he admitted the crime.
Ms Murphy suffered a total of eight lacerations to her scalp and two fractured bones in her left hand but has since made a full recovery from her injuries.
Murphy, who has an address at Waterford Regional Hospital, pleaded guilty last May to assault causing harm and to attempting to cause serious harm at Ardmore Park, Ballybeg in Waterford.
During sentencing yesterday Mr Justice Paul Carney said that on the surface the case "couldn't be more serious and would merit a substantial term of imprisonment".
But he said both the accused and his wife suffered from serious mental illness and the events were "very largely blamed" on the fact that they had stopped taking medication.
The judge said that although the DPP took the view that the matter was very grave, he recognised it was in the public interest that Murphy continue with his medication and treatment, and this would not be achieved in a prison environment.
He also noted that Ms Murphy did not want the matter reported to the gardai, and has resumed living with her husband of seven years.
She also told gardai in a statement that he had never hurt her before and that he "would do anything for me".
The judge also bound Murphy to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, in particular toward his wife.
Murphy was also told to obey all lawful instructions in relation to his medical treatment.