Tuesday 24 October 2017

Man knifed his pregnant sister four times in the back, court told

Stock photo
Stock photo

Andrew Phelan

A mentally ill man who stabbed his pregnant sister in the back four times told gardaí he had wanted to kill her because she was "carrying a Dublin baby," a court has heard.

Daniel O'Connell (33), described as having an "unnatural, almost pathological dislike" of people from Dublin, set upon his sister with a 12-inch knife, before she grabbed it off him and managed to escape.

As well as being 26-weeks pregnant, Olivia O'Connell (42) was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time.

The Central Criminal Court heard she later told gardaí she felt the attack was premeditated and her brother, who wore latex gloves and had a bag with a hammer and duct tape, had come "fully prepared".

Mr O'Connell, from Rosemount, Newpark, Co Kilkenny, is pleading not guilty to the attempted murder of his sister at Scholarstown Park, Scholarstown Road, Knocklyon, in Dublin on April 25, 2016.

Vincent Heneghan SC, for the defence, said the facts of the case were accepted.

Prosecutor Michael Bowman SC told the jury they would be asked to consider three verdicts: guilty of attempted murder, not guilty, or a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Evidence from consultant forensic psychiatrists on behalf of both the prosecution and the defence would be heard later, he said.

Garda Niall Russell said when asked why he was wearing surgical gloves, he said "to hide fingerprints".

Mr O'Connell told the garda he had brought the hammer to "stun" his sister and the duct tape to "stop her screaming as he cut her with the knife".

The accused also had the key from the back door of his sister's house in his pocket.

Later that night, he was released from Rathfarnham Garda Station and taken to St Luke's psychiatric hospital in Kilkenny.

In her statement, Olivia O'Connell said her brother arrived wearing a red jacket with a baseball cap and dark glasses and seemed upset.

He had driven from the family home to Portlaoise and got the train to Dublin.

He went upstairs to the toilet and she heard a "cracking" noise, like a metal bar falling on the floor.

In the sitting room, he "came at me at a faster than normal pace", her statement said.

"I was lying on the sofa. The first things I saw were the gloves and the knife," she said.

She jumped up and tried to take the knife from him and talk him down.

"He reached over my shoulder and stabbed me in the back three to four times," she told gardaí.

Ms O'Connell wrestled the knife from his grip and ran to the back door but it was locked and the key was not there.

He pushed her and she ran to the front door. He grabbed her nightdress, trying to pull her back, then stamped on her calves to try to bring her down.

He held her at the porch door before her nightdress ripped and she got free, running to a neighbour's house.

She was treated for her wounds and her baby was later born healthy.

"I think if I hadn't got to the front door, he would have killed me," she said in her statement.

"I lost control of my mind," the accused said to gardaí later during an interview.

"I just wanted to end my own life - and end hers as well as my own. It was a failed murder- suicide," he then said.

"You do know I am deeply remorseful for what I did," he told gardaí.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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