Tuesday 22 January 2019

Autistic man committed after insanity verdict over attack

Olivia O’Connell was pregnant and lived in Dublin
Olivia O’Connell was pregnant and lived in Dublin

Natasha Reid

An autistic Kilkenny man has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) after being found not guilty by reason of insanity of attempting to murder his pregnant sister so she wouldn't raise her child in Dublin.

A Central Criminal Court judge made the order yesterday, two weeks after a jury returned the special verdict following the trial of 33-year-old Daniel O'Connell.

Mr Justice Paul Butler had remanded him to the hospital for the required 14 days under the Insanity Act.

James Dwyer BL, for the State, informed the judge that consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Anthony Kearns had prepared the required report during that time.

"There's evidence before the court, which would warrant such an order being made," he said.

He was referring to an order committing Mr O'Connell to the CMH, where he would receive the inpatient care or treatment needed for the mental disorder from which he suffered.

The judge said that he had thoroughly read the report and noted that there was a bed available in the hospital.

"The evidence is only one way in this matter," he said. "In those circumstances, I make the order."

Mr O'Connell, who had been brought to court by staff from the CMH, was then accompanied from court by his family and returned to the hospital by the CMH staff.

The trial heard Mr O'Connell first developed homicidal feelings for his sister when she settled in Dublin, due to the fear that she would have a baby born and raised there.

He had developed what the prosecution described as "an unnatural and almost pathological dislike of Dublin and Dublin people" as a child.

Mr O'Connell, of Rosemount, Newpark, Co Kilkenny, had pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of his sister Olivia O'Connell on April 25, 2016, at Scholarstown Park, Knocklyon.

Irish Independent

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