Friday 18 October 2019

Doctor told garda 'I stabbed my son and then stabbed myself', murder trial hears

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 doctor accused of murdering her three-year-old autistic son told a garda “I did it, I stabbed my son and then stabbed myself” when he arrived at the scene, a trial jury has heard.

The garda told the Central Criminal Court that he observed a large amount of blood on Maha Al Adheem's hands and clothing before he saw the body of her son lying on his back in the middle of a bed.

There were several puncture wounds to the boy's torso and legs and a silver metal knife was on the bed, he said.

Ms Al Adheem (43) has admitted stabbing her son and told gardai 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, the court has previously heard.

Opening the trial on Monday, prosecuting counsel Michael Delaney SC said the defence of insanity is being raised on behalf of Ms Al Adheem. This applies where the accused is suffering from a mental disorder at the time, he said, so as not to be held legally responsible for her actions. The barrister stated that 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. 

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

Giving evidence today, Diarmaid Kelly told Mr Delaney that he was attached to Sundrive Road Garda Station in July last year.

Mr Kelly said he was the driver of an official patrol car on the Crumlin Road on July 10 when he was informed by Dublin Fire Brigade that a child was in cardiac arrest at Riverside, Poddle Park in Kimmage at 6.52pm

One fire truck was in attendance at the scene when Mr Kelly arrived. However, members of the fire brigade were preparing to leave the scene as they had tried to gain access to the accused’s apartment but there was no response.

Mr Kelly said he and some members of the fire brigade decided to go to the apartment on the second floor. The witness said he made several attempts to knock on the door of the apartment and rang the caller’s number who had previously dialled 999.

The court has heard that Dublin Fire Brigade got a 999 call from Ms Al Adheem at 6.40pm and she said that her baby was dead and then hung up. The person who took the call phoned the caller back but she hung up again.

Mr Kelly said there was a “red smudge mark” on the left-hand side of the apartment door which he believed was blood. A resident approached Mr Kelly while he was trying to gain access and told him that a female and her child lived there and pointed to a blue Micra car in the car park which he said belonged to the woman.

Mr Kelly said two firefighters breached Ms Al Adheem's apartment door using a sledgehammer which activated an intruder alarm. “I also noticed a chub lock had been put on the door as well,” he said, adding that he was first to enter the apartment.

The witness testified that Ms Al Adheem was standing in the hall directly in front of him and looked panicked. He identified himself as a member of An Garda Siochana.

“Ms Al Adheeem held her hands up and said ‘no, no, no’ and backed away into the living area where she sat on a couch,” he said.

Mr Kelly said he observed a large amount of blood on her hands, her right hip and her clothing. The accused was in her pyjamas and wearing a headscarf.

He called for the assistance of paramedics and a doctor who had accompanied them to the scene.

The witness said he soon became aware of a “degree of commotion” coming from the bedroom of the apartment and went to see what the cause of this was.

Mr Kelly said he observed the body of a young male lying on his back in the middle of the bed. “There was a substantial amount of blood at the scene and paramedics had connected an ECG monitor to the child,” he said.

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

Paramedics informed Mr Kelly that the child was unresponsive and had no pulse before he returned to Ms Al Adheem in the living area.

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”.

Ms Al Adheem was initially reluctant to be examined by staff and held a cushion to her side where her injuries were. Eventually, she allowed a doctor to examine her before she was brought by ambulance to St James’s Hospital at 7.40pm.

Under cross-examination by Patrick Gageby SC, defending, Mr Kelly agreed that one of the pieces of information he was able to access from the Pulse record was that Ms Al Adheem had the benefit of a safety order in her favour. He further agreed with counsel that it is very common that a safety order is conveyed to the local garda station as gardai will give effect to it.

Mr Kelly agreed with Mr Gageby that he had entered the apartment in uniform and members of Dublin Fire Brigade were also dressed in uniform. Mr Gageby said Ms Al Adheem’s reaction to this was “no, no, no" and the witness agreed with this.

The trial resumes this afternoon before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of nine men and three women.

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