Friday 16 November 2018

'I sliced her like a goat' - woman charged with attempted murder of civil servant said, court hears

Not guilty plea: Laura Kenna arrives for her trial on an attempted murder charge. Picture: Collins
Not guilty plea: Laura Kenna arrives for her trial on an attempted murder charge. Picture: Collins

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A woman arrested on suspicion of slicing a civil servant's throat said she had did it because the Department of Social Protection was supposed to "look after people".

Laura Kenna (35), of no fixed abode, is charged with the attempted murder of Fionnuala Bourke as well as assault intending to cause serious harm to her on Lower Drumcondra Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, on January 3, 2017.

Ms Kenna pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to both counts before a jury at the Central Criminal Court on Monday.

Prosecuting counsel Anthony Sammon SC said the central issue was Ms Kenna's state of mind. He told the jury they would hear evidence from two consultant psychiatrists from the Central Mental Hospital and there would be a conflict in their opinions. It was for the jury to decide which was more likely to be correct.

Ms Bourke had been walking home from work around 5pm when she was attacked by Ms Kenna with a knife. Mr Sammon said Ms Bourke's "throat was slit" and she suffered "severe facial scarring".

Det Sergeant Ken Hoare told Mr Sammon that Ms Bourke had been passing an area known locally as the Bishop's Palace when she noticed Ms Kenna sitting on the wall outside a house on Lower Drumcondra Road.

Ms Kenna had "sprung up" and pushed Ms Bourke back wards onto the grassy area between the footpath and traffic. Ms Kenna was on top of Ms Bourke and started to stab her. Ms Bourke could feel short, sharp stabs going into her upper body, her face and neck being slashed. She thought she was going to be killed.

The detective said Ms Kenna didn't ask or demand anything from her but later said words similar to: "If you give me your bag, I'll let you go."

Det Sgt Hoare said Ms Bourke managed to free herself and was at the front of the Bishop's Palace trying to stop traffic, screaming.

An ambulance arrived and Ms Bourke was seen as having a large, deep cut across the front of her neck, 8cm in diameter and which had penetrated through the muscle. Following a medical procedure, Ms Bourke spent time in the intensive care unit.

Det Sgt Hoare said Ms Kenna was arrested the following day in Tallaght for allegedly "making a nuisance of herself" in Tallaght garda station. She had been identified from CCTV footage in Drumcondra rail station.

Det Sgt Hoare said Ms Kenna was found to have blood on her clothing, a knife and property belonging to Ms Bourke.

Upon being cautioned, Ms Kenna replied: "I'm guilty. Yeah, I f***ing did it. Is she still alive? Yeah I did it, I sliced her like you would a goat. You couldn't have stitched that up, I cut through her like butter."

Det Sgt Kenna said he cautioned Ms Kenna again. He said Ms Kenna told him: "She took my house away from me, that's why I killed her. F**k her, from the Department of Social Welfare (sic), she's meant to look after people."

Under cross-examination by Ms Kenna's counsel Barry White SC, Det Sgt Hoare accepted her comment in relation to the Department of Social Protection was likely to have come from an analysis of documents in Ms Bourke's handbag.

When asked whether he was aware of the medical evidence that would be heard in the case - that Ms Kenna suffered from a form of schizophrenia, that she was delusional and paranoid - the detective sergeant said he knew there was history of mental health in respect of Ms Kenna.

The trial continues today before Mr Justice Robert Eagar and a jury of seven men and five women.

Irish Independent

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