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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Another tragic case of child being killed by sibling

Brian Byrne

Published 22/07/2014 | 02:30

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A YOUNG child being killed by an older brother or sister is virtually unheard of in Ireland.

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The most noteworthy case until now involved 19-year-old Patrick O'Dwyer, from Co Clare, who beat his 17-year-old sister Marguerite to death with a hammer while they were watching an episode of 'The Office' in November 2004.

The court heard that the apprentice butcher began "drifting" into another world at work on November 29, following a drunken Saturday night in which he had gotten sick and fallen down.

The siblings sat down to watch television after work but, during the programme, O'Dwyer went into the kitchen and picked up a hammer.

Depressed, and overcome with feelings of profound shame and embarrassment over the incident on Saturday night, O'Dwyer told gardai he planned to "bash his brains out", but feared Marguerite would prevent him from doing so and turned the weapon on her instead.

O'Dwyer was the first person to be convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility since the legislation was changed the previous year.

This allowed him to be given a shorter sentence, after the jury accepted that he had been suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing.

There have also been several tragic cases of parents accused of killing their own children, including mother-of-one Diane Ward (44), from Co Cork.

She was convicted of manslaughter this month for smothering her son, Anthony (8), in September 2012.

Irish Independent

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