Tuesday 21 November 2017

Family tells of hurt after mum brutally killed

Patrick Halley: ‘I can never forgive killer for what he did’. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Halley: ‘I can never forgive killer for what he did’. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

The family of a woman who was stabbed more than 100 times by a man suffering a psychotic episode have described their shock at the manner of her death while she was a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

Paul Cuddihy (38) was yesterday committed to the Central Mental Hospital for treatment.

Two weeks ago Mr Cuddihy, formerly of St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of 55-year-old Maria O'Brien at St Otteran's on September 5, 2014.

The jury reached the same verdict on charges of assault causing harm to fellow hospital resident Mary Nugent and nurses Breda Fennelly, Terry Hayes and Mary Grant.

In his victim impact statement yesterday, Ms O'Brien's son Patrick Halley said he was close to his mother and that she was a vulnerable person who was not always shown the love she deserved.

"Nevertheless, she was always a bubbly and happy person who nearly always had a smile on her face. She was a gentle, kind-hearted person who genuinely wouldn't harm a fly," he said.

She particularly loved her children, he said, and her last words to Mr Cuddihy were "remember the children".

"This shows how much she loved us all," he said. "And she is very much missed by her family and very much missed by myself."

He said he accepts Paul Cuddihy has a mental illness but said he will "never forgive him for what he did".

He told the court that he had more to say but that he had been told he was not allowed to say it.

Ms O'Brien's brother Joe O'Mahony said the manner of her death had left him traumatised.

Following the statements by Ms O'Brien's family, Dr Damian Mohan, a forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, told the court that he had assessed Mr Cuddihy following the trial verdict and is satisfied that he is still suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

He said he has made little progress and does not accept that he is ill or needs help.

He said that he has shown little remorse and when questioned about Ms O'Brien's death he was dismissive and told him "it's over and done with, forget about it".

Justice Patrick McCarthy committed Mr Cuddihy to the Central Mental Hospital.

Irish Independent

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