Saturday 16 December 2017

Accused believed slain woman had 'survived and changed her identity'

Shane Smyth
Shane Smyth
Mairead Moran

Andrew Phelan

Murder accused Shane Smyth admitted to gardaí he had stabbed a shop worker but repeatedly told them he did not think he had killed her, a jury heard.

The accused told officers after arrest he accepted he had inflicted "countless wounds" to the body of Mairead Moran (26).

But throughout three interviews, he said he still "had difficulty believing" he had killed Ms Moran.

"I don't think she is dead, I think someone is pushing that and she can get a new ID and get a maximum charge against me," he said in an interview.

Asked again about what happened, he said: "I can't, I don't have a physical capacity to say it, I can't say it, can you ask me a different question? I just can't, it can't be real."

The memos of interviews were read to the jury in the Central Criminal Court trial of Mr Smyth, who fatally stabbed Ms Moran with a dagger.

He had dragged her out of the store where she worked at Market Cross Shopping Centre, Kilkenny, on May 8, 2014.

Mr Smyth (29), with an address at McGuinness House, Evans Lane, Kilkenny is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury has previously heard he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and believed Ms Moran was part of a conspiracy against him.

A psychiatrist told the trial that Mr Smyth did not have the capacity to form intent in killing Ms Moran because of his mental illness.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Brenda Wright said that, in her opinion, the accused understood what he was doing was legally wrong, but harboured a "psychotic moral justification for his behaviour". Dr Wright added that, in her opinion, the accused did not understand the nature and quality of his actions at the time.

Mr Smyth had been on anti-­psychotic medication in the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) for 18 months and he continued to harbour many delusional beliefs at the time of interview last month, Dr Wright said.

During his time in the CMH, he continued to believe that Ms Moran had not died in the assault and "he believed she may have changed her identity".

"He reported he had seen [Ms Moran] in the hospital, that she survived the attack and the gardaí covered it up and charged Mr Smyth with the killing."

Cross-examined by Colman Cody SC for the defence, Dr Wright agreed she would be well placed to know if someone were "fabricating" a defence of insanity. She was not of the opinion that the psychosis was drug-induced.

The court has heard how Mr Smyth had believed his mother was "evil" and a "witch" and that she was taking his powers.

In interview, Mr Smyth described his former relationship with Ms Moran, saying that they met when he was 19 and she was 17.

He said the relationship ended well except for "my paranoia". "Anything and everything made me think she was unfaithful."

He believed people were hacking into his computer games and that Ms Moran was involved in that.

He believed microchips had been put in his hips to control his actions. The court heard he thought spiders were put in his apartment to harm him and he had been bitten and poisoned.

The trial continues before the jury and Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.

Irish Independent

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