Wednesday 18 September 2019

Doctor who stabbed son (3) to death not guilty of murder by reason of insanity

Kuwaiti national (43) suffering from paranoid schizophrenia

Maha Al Adheem
Maha Al Adheem

Alison O'Riordan

A doctor who stabbed her three-year-old son to death in their south Dublin home has been found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Kuwaiti national Maha Al Adheem (43) told gardaí 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 gardaí 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.

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.

The jury of nine men and three women spent one hour and 46 minutes deliberating before bringing in a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

After they had delivered their verdict, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon thanked the jury for their care and attention to this very difficult case. The judge exempted them from jury service for the next five years.

Ms Justice Creedon then made an order committing Ms Al Adheem to go to the Central Mental Hospital and to be brought back before the court today at midday.

The judge also directed the preparation of a psychiatric assessment by an approved medical officer.

The four-day trial heard Ms Al Adheem was originally from Kuwait and qualified as a doctor in Iraq. She never got to practice in Iraq as conflict broke out and her family moved to Syria.

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.

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

Their son was diagnosed with autism when he was just over three years of age.

The trial heard from two of Ms Al Adheem's neighbours, who described her as an "amazing mother", but developed a fixation with a black cat with no tail that hung around their apartment complex. She told the neighbours it was an "evil spirit" and it was a "worrying thing for her".

Sergeant Brendan O'Halloran later told the trial he arrested her in St James's Hospital on July 12.

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

Irish Independent

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