Friday 20 April 2018

Man who strangled brother to death with bungee cord and hid him in Cliffs of Moher pit found not guilty by reason of insanity

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Alison O'Riordain

A 41-year-old man who strangled his brother to death with a bungee cord before hiding his body in a pit by the Cliffs of Moher has been found not guilty of his murder by reason of insanity.

Declan O'Cualain, with an address at An Caoran Beag, An Cheathru Rua, Co Galway was charged with murdering Adrian Folan (O'Cualain) at Lislorkin North, Liscannor, Co Clare on July 4 2014.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr O'Cualain pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Folan by reason of insanity.

Prosecution Counsel, Mr Anthony Sammon SC, yesterday told the jury that the accused had become "fixated with pedophilia" and held the baseless delusion that his brother was a person "afflicted with this difficulty and he may have sexually abused a sibling".

Mr Sammon said the accused was in "an utterly delusional state of mind" at the time and the delusions were "not to be given any weight whatsoever".

This morning two consultant forensic psychiatrists gave evidence that Mr O'Cualain should not be held responsible for his actions and he met the requirements for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Today after a period of just 21 minutes deliberating, a jury of nine men and three women returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

After they had delivered their verdict, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan told the jury they have had a "difficult task over the last few days" as it was a "distressing case."

The judge then exempted them from further jury service for a period of fifteen years.

Prosecution counsel Mr Anthony Sammon SC told the court that a recommendation had been made by Dr Ronan Mulranney that Mr O'Cualain be committed to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) and return to court in fourteen days time.

Ms Justice Heneghan then made an order committing Mr O'Cualain to go to the CMH today and be brought back before the court on Thursday May 5.

The judge also directed the preparation of a psychiatric assessment report.

Ms Justice Heneghan then extended her sympathies to the family of Adrian Folan saying: "I have noticed the distress they have all been under and all I can do is extend my sympathies." 

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