Sunday 21 January 2018

'Paranoid' murder accused believed victim was part of plot

Mairead Moran died from a wound to her body which went into her heart
Mairead Moran died from a wound to her body which went into her heart
Shane Smyth who is accused of the murder of Mairead Moran

Andrew Phelan

A man with a psychotic illness stabbed a young shop assistant in the chest with a hunting knife as she finished a day's work.

Shane Smyth (29) attacked Mairead Moran (26), stabbing her repeatedly in front of shocked shoppers.

The accused had known her years earlier from when they were in their late teens and went out together for several months, but had "very seldom met" by the time of the attack.

The Central Criminal Court was told Ms Moran died from a wound to her body which went into her heart.

Witnesses who heard her screams came to help but were unable to save her.

The jury heard Mr Smyth, a paranoid schizophrenic, had been suffering from a delusion that he was being persecuted and Ms Moran was part of a conspiracy against him.

Mr Smyth, with an address at McGuinness House, Evans Lane, Kilkenny, is charged with murdering Ms Moran on May 8, 2014, at the Holland and Barrett shop in the city's Market Cross Shopping Centre

He is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

John O'Kelly SC, for the prosecution, said a lot of the factual evidence in the case was not disputed.

Outlining the prosecution's case, he said Ms Moran had been working on the late shift.

On the night, Mr Smyth turned up at around 8pm and started speaking to Ms Moran "quite aggressively". People heard him asking: "Why did you want my blood?"

Ms Moran was in tears and a security man told Mr Smyth to leave, which he did "reluctantly". Within five minutes, he got back in and "this terrible attack took place".

Security guard James Coffey saw him with the knife. It was five to six inches long and had a timber handle and blood on it.

"He had a completely blank look on his face, like he didn't even realise what he was after doing," Mr Coffey said.

Afterwards, Mr Smyth got a taxi to his cousin's house and said he had stabbed "his ex-girlfriend".

Gardaí went to the house and arrested him.

The onset of illness happened in his late adolescence and Mr Smyth remained mentally ill, Mr O'Kelly said.

He displayed psychosis, suffering from delusions about "spider infestation and thought broadcasting".

According to a psychiatrist's report, he "clearly failed to appreciate the enormity of his actions".

He had believed he was being victimised and that his life was in danger, a second report stated.

Colman Cody SC, for the defence, said that eight facts were being admitted; that Ms Moran died as a result of injuries inflicted by the accused with a knife, that she died of a stab wound to the trunk as determined by the State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy.

Other accepted facts are that Mr Smyth was lawfully arrested and detained, he was fit to be interviewed having been examined by a consultant psychiatrist and that the physical evidence was lawfully seized by gardaí.

The other accepted facts are that the scene was lawfully preserved, warrants were lawfully obtained and executed and the forensic evidence was not disputed.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.

Irish Independent

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