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Farmer Cecil Tomkins jailed for life for murder of his brother in row over mother’s burial

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Cecil Tomkins outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin

Cecil Tomkins outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin

Cecil Tomkins outside the Central Criminal Court in Dublin

A WICKLOW farmer, suffering from dementia and Parkinsons disease was today jailed for life for the murder of his brother in a row over their mother’s final resting place.

Tomkins (63) of New Lodge Nursing Home, Stocking Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty at the Central Criminal Court to murdering Walter Tomkins (66) at Cronlea, Shillelagh, on July 1, 2010.

He told gardai that he shot his brother Walter, who was also a bachelor, in the hallway of the house they shared.

The court heard the killing occurred because their mother's burial wishes had not been followed.

The trial has heard their mother, Bella Tomkins, had been buried just days before, on June 28, locally in Aghowle with her late husband.

Her original wish was to be buried with family in Kilcormac, Co Wexford, but the court was told she had later reserved a plot in Gorey in 2001 and left a letter outlining her wishes and money in an envelope to be buried there.

Consultant psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital Dr Paul O'Connell told the court it was his opinion the accused had dementia that would have "impaired his judgment" and that "a defence of diminished responsibility is available".

He told defence counsel John O'Kelly that a defence of insanity may be possible -- but it was difficult to establish because he did not assess the accused closer to the time of the incident.

Under cross-examination by prosecuting counsel Dominc McGinn, he agreed that the accused's mental health would not be the same in 2012 as it was in 2010.

But he still said it was his concern that Cecil Tomkins "would have been suffering substantial effects of his dementia".

Dr O'Connell told the court he reviewed the accused on February 1, 2012, and he had been instructed that he had been charged with the murder of his brother.

Inherited

He told Dr O'Connell he left school when he was 14, that he inherited 50 acres of land, and never had a relationship.

Dr O'Connell said the accused had no psychiatric history, no previous convictions, and he told him he would drink the odd time but had never been drunk. He said the accused told him a dispute started over where his mother was to be buried and said: "I suppose I over-reacted.

"I got the gun and shot him. I regretted it the moment I did it," the accused told the psychiatrist.

The accused told him he went to tell his nephew what had happened and when he got back his brother was dead.