Monday 23 September 2019

Doctor found not guilty of son's murder committed to Central Mental Hospital

Maha Al Adheem
Maha Al Adheem

Alison O’Riordan and Eoin Reynolds

A doctor who stabbed her three-year-old son with autism to death in their south Dublin home has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital having been found not guilty of his murder by reason of insanity.

Kuwaiti national Maha Al Adheem (43) told a doctor that she is glad her trial is over and hopes to visit her son's grave.

The trial heard that she told gardai who arrived at the scene: “I did it, I stabbed my son and then stabbed myself”. A large amount of blood was observed on Ms Al Adheem's hands and clothing before the boy's body was found lying in the middle of a bed in the one bedroom apartment.

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. His cause of death was multiple stab wounds.

There were signs of defensive injuries to the boy's right hand and a silver stainless steel knife was found at the top of the bed. Ms Al Adheem told gardai in her interviews that “a power” had made her go to a drawer and remove the knife.

Ms Al Adheem, with an address at Riverside, Poddle Park, Kimmage, Dublin 12 had pleaded not guilty to murdering Omar Omran on July 10, 2017 at the same address.

Yesterday, after a period of one hour and 46 minutes deliberating, a jury of nine men and three women returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Today, prosecution counsel Michael Delaney SC called Dr Ronan Mullally, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH), to report on her condition and make recommendations for her ongoing care.

Dr Mullally told the court he has had a role in Ms Al Adheem's care at the CMH since July 2017.. He said he spoke to Ms Al Adheem yesterday following the jury verdict and she showed "partial insight" into her illness and understood the purpose of the assessment.

She was happy that her trial is over, agreeable to ongoing treatment and hopes to visit her son's grave. She presented as neatly dressed, wearing a hijab, and made good eye contact, he said. Her speech is coherent, she described her mood as good and has no thoughts of self harm or of harming others.

He saw no evidence of ongoing paranoia or delusions.

She suffers from schizophrenia and will require ongoing treatment, Dr Mullally said, including medication, psychological treatment and therapy. Her condition will be further reviewed by the Mental Health Review Board and in the future she will be considered for conditional discharge.

The witness recommended to the court that Ms Al Adheem be committed to the CMH and he confirmed that there was a bed available for her there today.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon said she was satisfied to make an order committing Ms Al Adheem to the CMH for inpatient care.

Two consultant psychiatrists gave evidence during the Central Criminal Court trial that Ms Al Adheem was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia in July 2017. The defendant was unable to appreciate that what she did at the time was morally wrong and would have been unable to refrain from her actions, they said. The doctor met the requirements for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, the court heard.

On the first day of the trial, defence counsel Anne Rowland SC made a number of admissions on behalf of her client including that Ms Al Adheem had inflicted stab wounds to the deceased and rang emergency services at 6.40pm on July 10 reporting that her son was dead.

Patrick Gageby SC, also defending, told the court that he would like to repeat and add to one of the section 22 admissions which his colleague Ms Rowland had previously made. The body of Omar Omran was removed to the Mater Hospital and then to the city morgue where an autopsy revealed stab wounds, which were inflicted by Ms Al Adheem who had the requisite intention required by the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, Mr Gageby said.

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