Monday 23 September 2019

Doctor on trial for murder of son told gardaí: 'Yes, it was my knife, my hand'

Maha Al Adheem
Maha Al Adheem

Alison O'Riordan

Neighbours of a doctor who is on trial accused of murdering her three-year-old son have told a jury that she was "beyond" a caring mother and did everything for him, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Maha Al Adheem (43) has admitted stabbing her son and told gardaí that "a power" had made her go to a drawer and remove a knife.

The boy was stabbed 20 times and four stab wounds had penetrated his lungs and heart, severing a vital artery.

Opening the trial on Monday, prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney SC said the defence of insanity was being raised on behalf of Ms Al Adheem.

Expert psychiatrists for both the prosecution and defence are in agreement that Ms Al Adheem fulfils the criteria of not guilty by reason of insanity, the jury was told.

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

Yesterday, the court heard from neighbours of Ms Al Adheem, with one neighbour describing her as an "amazing mother".

The same neighbour - Siobhan Murray - also told the court of Ms Al Adheem's belief that a black cat with no tail that hung around their apartment complex was an evil spirit, and it was a "worrying thing for her".

A statement by Deputy State Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan said she conducted a post-mortem on the deceased on July 12 and found there were 20 stab wounds in total. Four of the stab wounds had been fatal as they had penetrated his heart and lungs, severing a vital artery.

Earlier, former garda Diarmaid Kelly told Mr Delaney he was the first to enter the accused's apartment after Dublin Fire Brigade - responding to a 999 call from the accused - used a sledgehammer to gain entry.

He said Ms Al Adheem was standing in the hall directly in front of him and looked panicked.

Mr Kelly moved towards a bedroom where he observed the body of a young boy lying on his back in the middle of the bed with his head towards the foot of the bed.

The witness said he noted several puncture wounds to his torso and his legs. A silver metal knife was on the bed.

Mr Kelly said he asked the accused repeatedly what had happened and she replied: "I did it, I stabbed my son and then stabbed myself."

Under cross-examination by Patrick Gageby SC, defending, Mr Kelly agreed that Ms Al Adheem had the benefit of a safety order in her favour.

Detective Garda Riana O'Sullivan gave evidence that she attended St James's Hospital with Ms Al Adheem as she had three small puncture wounds on her abdomen.

Det Gda O'Sullivan said the accused told her in hospital that she had killed her son and her bed was full of blood.

"She said 'the spirit goes to bed with me, at 12 o'clock I take the knife and start hitting him and myself, I want to die'," said Det Gda O'Sullivan.

Sergeant Brendan O'Halloran told the prosecution that he arrested the accused at 10.05pm in the psychiatric unit of St James's Hospital on July 12 and conveyed her to Crumlin garda station, where four interviews were conducted with her.

When the murder charge was put to her, she replied: "Yes, it was my knife, my hand, it was not me, the power."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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