Saturday 21 September 2019

Doctor admits she stabbed her son (3) to death after 'a power' forced her to do it

Mother pleads not guilty to murder of autistic child Omar on the grounds of insanity after killing in flat

On trial: Maha Al Adheem called 999 and said her son was dead in their apartment
On trial: Maha Al Adheem called 999 and said her son was dead in their apartment

Alison O'Riordan

A murder trial has heard a doctor admit to stabbing her three-year-old son to death in their south Dublin home, then telling gardaí that "a power" had made her go to a drawer and remove a knife.

The Central Criminal Court wast told that Omar Omran was stabbed 20 times, mainly to the trunk of his body. Four stab wounds had penetrated his lungs and heart, severing a vital artery, the court heard.

During the opening of the trial of Maha Al Adheem, prosecuting counsel told the court that psychiatrists for both the prosecution and defence agree the accused fulfils the criteria of not guilty by reason of insanity in this case.

Ms Al Adheem (43), of Riverside, Poddle Park, Kimmage, Dublin 12, is charged with murdering Omar on July 10, 2017 at the same address. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Michael Delaney said Ms Al Adheem spent the early part of her life in Kuwait, moving with her family to Iraq at the age of 15.

She studied medicine between 1994 and 2003 and qualified as a doctor in Iraq.

However, her studies were delayed in part as she was diagnosed with suffering from depression and schizophrenia in 1996.

Due to the war in Iraq, her family moved to Syria in 2006 and stayed there until 2010.

Ms Al Adheem came to Ireland in 2010 as part of an arranged marriage to a man called Khalid Omran, who was living in Dublin at the time.

It was not a happy marriage, the court was told, and they separated in May 2014, only a few months after their only child, Omar, was born.

Their son had developmental delay and was non-verbal, Mr Delaney said. He was diagnosed with autism when he was just over three. "This all forms part of the background to the case," he indicated.

Although Ms Al Adheem qualified as a doctor she did not practise medicine in Ireland. In March 2017, a month after her son was diagnosed with autism, she was admitted to the psychiatric department of St James's Hospital with suicidal thoughts and detained for five days.

She was diagnosed with suffering from an "adjustment reaction", and the opinion was that she was under a considerable amount of stress as a lone parent who was having difficulty accessing services for her special needs son.

On the day of the killing, Mr Delaney said Dublin Fire Brigade got a 999 call from a woman at 6.40pm who stated that her baby was dead and then hung up.

The person who took the call phoned the woman back but she hung up again.

Paramedics were sent to the scene but were unable to get access to the accused's apartment on the second floor. They later used a sledgehammer to break the door.

Garda Diarmaid Kelly was the first person to enter the hallway where he saw the accused. She was observed putting her hands up and had blood on her clothing, said Mr Delaney, adding that she held her thigh as if she was injured.

It then became apparent that Omar's body, which had multiple chest stab wounds, was lying on a single bed in the bedroom.

Ms Al Adheem was taken to St James's Hospital where it was confirmed that her injuries were not serious, and she was transferred from A&E to the psychiatric part of the hospital where she remained until her discharge two days later.

Omar's body was removed from the apartment the following day, and a post mortem was conducted by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan.

The court was told Dr Mulligan identified 20 stab wounds, mainly to the trunk. Four stab were significant as they had penetrated his lungs and heart, severing a vital artery. There were also signs of defensive injuries to his right hand.

The trial was due to resume later today before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of nine men and three women. It is expected to last three days.

Irish Independent

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