Saturday 23 September 2017

'I told them my brother would kill my dad, but no-one listened'

Hours after he was released from prison, Edward Boylan Jr, who had a history of mental illness, stabbed his father to death

Paul Williams

AT 11.10am on the morning of January 6, 2012, Edward Boylan Jr was taken from his padded cell in Mountjoy Prison and given temporary release.

Within 12 hours of his release he had armed himself with a 22in-long World War I bayonet - a family heirloom left by his grandfather - and stabbed his father, Edward Snr, to death.

The following afternoon, the fire service was alerted to a blaze in the sheltered accommodation where 74-year-old Edward Snr lived in Crumlin, Dublin.

The badly burnt corpse was found lying on a bed with the bayonet protruding from his chest.

A post-mortem examination later found that the victim had been stabbed 13 times.

The absence of soot in the lungs confirmed that the pensioner was dead by the time his son set fire to him and the flat.

Gardai said that he had suffered a particularly horrific death at the hands of his son, a schizophrenic drug addict with a history of violence and a fascination with knives.

In the Central Criminal Court last May, Boylan Jr was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was ordered to be incarcerated in the Central Mental Hospital (CMH).

His defence counsel said that at the time of his release from Mountjoy Prison, he was "without appropriate supervision, without medication and homeless".

She said that her client was in a "manic, psychotic state" at the time, having been in a padded cell there.

Doctors diagnosed him with a "schizoaffective disorder" and said that he was unable to refrain from his actions due to his mental state.

Boylan Jr can be held indefinitely at the CMH or until such time as doctors believe he is no longer a danger and is fit to be released back into society.

However, in an interview with the Sunday Independent, Edward's sister Linda Boland has revealed her heart-breaking decision to do everything she possibly can to prevent him from ever being freed again.

The businesswoman says she is speaking out because she claims that families with concerns about the potential threat posed by loved-ones with psychiatric illnesses are not listened to when they try to warn the authorities.

Ms Boland was prompted to break her silence because of the tragic murder-suicide in Cobh, Co Cork, just before Christmas when Michael Greaney stabbed his wife and daughter to death before taking his own life.

Mr Greaney had previously been treated at the CMH and had been deemed fit to return home with the agreement of his family.

"The Cork case is not the only one where a family member with a psychiatric history has killed loved-ones, I have spoken to families who have suffered similar trauma and the story is always the same. Despite their warnings to the authorities beforehand no-one listened, even though the families knew the person best," Linda said.

"I begged the prison not to allow Edward out because he was dangerously ill and I told them that he was going to kill my father . . . what's more our dad knew what was going to happen," she added.

The retired truck driver, who celebrated his 74th birthday three days before his gruesome death, once broke down when he confided his darkest fears with his daughter in 2011.

"He looked at me with fear in his eyes and said: 'Linda I looked into Edward's eyes and I know that he is going to kill me.' He was terrified of his own son," Linda recalled as she tries to stifle tears.

"I believe that if I was heeded, my father would still be alive today and enjoying his retirement."

And she admitted: "I love my baby brother and I loved my father dearly and what happened to us is the worst kind of nightmare that can befall any family - it breaks my heart to admit that I never want to see my brother released and I will do everything I can to stop that happening.

"I have been to see Edward in the CMH and he seems to be doing fine now that he is being properly medicated within a controlled environment."

Boylan Jr was the youngest of three children born to Edward and Alice Boylan.

Born in 1982 there was a considerable age gap between him and his two older sisters who were in their mid-teens and early 20s when he was born.

Linda describes how her brother had a difficult childhood and was deeply affected by the death of his mother when he was 15.

He began to dabble in drugs and running with other young criminals in the Crumlin area.

A year after his mother's death, Linda and her sister first realised that he had psychiatric problems when he tried to attack a niece who he thought was an alien.

"When Edward went berserk and tried to break down a door to get at his niece we had him hospitalised and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"He was fine when he was on his medication but he was running with a wrong crowd and taking illegal drugs."

Edward stayed with his father at the family home at Leighin Road in Crumlin but his chaotic lifestyle forced his father to seek sheltered accommodation and give up his home.

"My brother was always getting into trouble with other criminals and they would come around to the house and smash in the door looking for him," she recalled.

"My dad often woke up in the middle of the night with someone standing in the room looking for Edward Jr. The door had been broken down so many times that dad ended up barricading himself into the house.

"At the same time Edward was threatening dad and stealing his money and anything else he could sell, which caused dad to sink into a deep depression.

"Dad loved his son deeply and despite the violence he didn't make a complaint to police because he felt a deep sense of shame that his son was an addict with psychological problems," she explained.

"This sense of shame is the reason why other families in the same situation are also reluctant to speak out."

Edward had over 30 convictions for drug offences, theft, assault using knives and public order.

Gardai had also investigated a number of incidents where he stabbed one drug addict and threatened another at knife point but both victims withdrew their complaints.

For eighteen months before the killing, Ms Boland and her father grew increasingly concerned about Edward's deepening volatile state.

At his trial it was revealed that prior to the killing prison doctors deemed him a "special needs" prisoner and he was held in a special wing with supervision. He had also been "hearing voices".

"My father would visit Edward in prison every day but Edward would have to be restrained by prison officers because he always tried to attack dad.

"We both came to the realisation that he would kill dad and that was why I pleaded with the authorities several times not to release him early and that he needed to be in a hospital," she added.

Despite Linda's protests, Edward Jr was released from prison on December 12, 2011, but was returned to prison on December 21 when he failed to comply with his signing on conditions.

He was again given temporary release on the morning of Friday, January 6.

He was returned to Mountjoy three days later after being charged with his father's murder.

Sunday Independent

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