Saturday 20 October 2018

'I did not intend to kill her... I intended to set her free' - young man accused of killing his mother

Paul Horgan (27) offered evidence today before his Central Criminal Court murder trial in Cork

Paul Horgan (27) accused of killing his mother
Paul Horgan (27) accused of killing his mother
Ms Horgan’s son Paul has been charged with murder
Marian and Billy Horgan were devoted to each other; they had three children. Photo: Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A young man charged with the fatal stabbing of his mother said he only intended to "set her free" because of the cruelty of life

Paul Horgan (27) offered evidence today before his Central Criminal Court murder trial in Cork and insisted he only intended to set his parents, Marian and Billy Horgan free, and then himself.

Horgan drank two bottles of wine while watching seven episodes of 'Family Guy' and then a Harry Potter film as he insisted to arresting Gardaí he had absolutely no recollection of the fatal stabbing almost three years ago.

Marian Horgan (60) was discovered lying in a pool of blood at their Cork home with a large knife embedded in her head.

Mr Horgan denies the murder of his mother at the family home at Murmont Avenue, Montenotte, Cork on November 23 2015.

Mr Horgan's father, Billy, also suffered serious injuries in the alleged incident that morning.

In evidence at his trial today, Paul Horgan insisted he did not intend to kill anyone.

"I wanted to set her (his mother) free not that I meant to kill her."

Ms Horgan’s son Paul has been charged with murder
Ms Horgan’s son Paul has been charged with murder

But Mr Horgan replied "Yeah" when it was put to him that it was an inescapable fact of the evidence that he had stabbed his mother.

"I did not intend to kill her. I intended to set her free because life is so cruel.

The funeral mass for the late Marian Horgan at St Joseph's Church, Cork city
The funeral mass for the late Marian Horgan at St Joseph's Church, Cork city

"My own life was cruel too.

"I wanted to set her free. My mother did not deserve cruelty."

Mr Horgan acknowledged that he had the same intention for his father and himself.

"I was going to set him free too."

Marian and Billy Horgan were devoted to each other; they had three children. Photo: Provision
Marian and Billy Horgan were devoted to each other; they had three children. Photo: Provision

The trial was told that while Billy Horgan suffered serious injuries, he has refused to press charges against his son.

The young man, in answer to a question referencing his father, expressed his regret.

"Yeah, I am so sorry - I didn't mean it at all.

"I don't know how it happened."

He insisted he does not recall the events of that November morning.

"Horrible - it is hard to listen to everything (in evidence)," he told the court.

"But I don't remember it, like."

In cross-examination, Tom Creed SC, for the State, pointed out that while Paul Horgan was assessed in the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, it was found that he was not suffering from a mental disorder.

"At the time of this offence you were not suffering from a mental disorder," Mr Creed said.

The defendant insisted that he was found not to be suffering from "a serious mental disorder."

However, Mr Creed challenged that and pointed to a CMH report which stressed that the defendant was not assessed as suffering from a mental disorder as defined under legislation.

"It was not like my thoughts were normal," the young man said.

He explained that, after the confrontation with his parents, he went back upstairs to his bedroom.

"I was walking upstairs whistling a marching tune I was hearing," he said.

Moments later, the young man followed his injured father out onto the street in front of their house and was disarmed and forcibly restrained by neighbours.

Judge Patrick McCarthy and the jury of nine men and three women were previously told by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster that Mrs Horgan died from a single massive stab injury to her head.

The blade of the knife was embedded in her head when she was found by Gardai at the scene - with the blade sticking out the rear of her skull.

Dr Bolster said Mrs Horgan died from shock and haemorrhage as a result a stab wound which penetrated the rear of her skull, severed her left jugular vein, travelled underneath her jawbone and lodged into her tongue.

She had also suffered a stab wound to her back and had defensive injuries to her hands.

"Significant force would have been required to inflict this (fatal) wound," Dr Bolster said.

Det Garda Derek Griffin confirmed that a number of blood-stained knives were recovered at the property.

A number of knives were found in the vicinity of Mrs Horgan's body.

The handle from the broken knife which was seen protruding from Mrs Horgan was found under a wooden knife block on the kitchen counter.

Mrs Horgan's blood was later found on her son's T-shirt, his hoodie and his shoes.

Detective Garda Mark Durcan was the first Garda at the scene and said he saw two men forcibly restraining a blood-stained young man on the roadway at Murmont Avenue.

The detective was told by local man, Fergus O'Donoghue, who was holding Paul Horgan, that: "He is after stabbing his parents - I think his mam is dead."

Detective Durcan went into the property and saw an injured Billy Horgan desperately ringing an ambulance for his critically injured wife.

However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Paul Horgan was arrested and taken to Mayfield Garda Station for questioning.

In an interview with Detective Durcan, he insisted he had absolutely no recollection of the fatal confrontation that morning.

"I just remember pieces. I just remember this morning there was a guard and then the cell door.

"I was drinking to forget. I don't remember anything after the second bottle of wine."

The young man explained to Gardai that he only drank when he felt depressed.

"Just on a bad day when I am feeling a bit depressed - it annoys me that I cannot talk to women.

"I am not even good on dating sites."

Mr Horgan said he had spent the entire previous day in bed, only getting up at 6pm.

He watched TV and, around 2am, took two bottles of wine which belonged to his mother and started drinking them.

He said he watched around seven episodes of 'Family Guy' and then a Harry Potter film.

"Deathly Hallows Park II is that last thing I can remember watching."

Mr Horgan acknowledged to Gardaí that he smoked cannabis but insisted he had not done so for at least two weeks before November 23.

He repeatedly insisted he had no recollection of the fatal incident with his mother at breakfast and could not explain whether it was over him being intoxicated or having taken his mother's wine.

When informed his father said he had attacked both him and his mother with knives that morning, the young man expressed surprise.

"Two knives? That explains the cuts, I suppose. Knives? What the f***. I'll probably get life. I never harmed anyone before.

"I don't want to remember. If I remember that it will probably keep me awake (at night).

"How many times did I stab her?

"I barely talk to my dad and I am always arguing with my mam," he said.

The trial previous heard Billy Horgan say he went to the kitchen that morning after hearing the sounds of an argument to find his wife collapsing and pleading for help.

The father of three said he was then attacked by his son.

He said he realised on approaching the kitchen his wife had a knife stuck in her throat and cried "Help me" before she collapsed and he threw his arms around her.

Mr Horgan told the court that he told his son; "Look what you are after doing to your mother."

He said Paul appeared calm and was smiling just seconds before then attacking him.

The trial continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News