Saturday 24 February 2018

Psychiatrists testify man was suffering a mental disorder when he stabbed his father to death with WWI sword, Central Criminal Court told

Natasha Reid

Psychiatrists for both sides in a murder trial have testified that the accused was suffering from a mental disorder and met the criteria for an insanity verdict when he stabbed his father to death with a World War 1 sword.

The doctors were giving evidence to the Central Criminal Court earlier today in the trial of a 31-year-old Dublin man charged with murdering his elderly father with the 100-year-old family heirloom.

Edward Boylan Jnr of no fixed abode has admitted stabbing Edward Boylan Snr (74) and causing his death. However, he has pleaded not guilty to his murder on January 6th or 7th 2012 at Ravensdale Close, Crumlin.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital Dr Sally Linehan was called by the prosecution. She said the accused had been diagnosed with schizophrenia several years earlier and that she assessed him following his arrest for his father’s killing.

She said he told her that in the weeks leading up to the killing, he had noticed people eyes changing colour. He explained that if they turned black, it meant they would kill him; if they turned red, it meant they were evil; and if they turned sea blue, it meant they would torture him.

He told her that the fatal incident happened at 8am. He said that he had asked his father for money, his father had got annoyed and they had argued. He said that he was about to leave when his father got up out of bed and picked up a sword.

He told her that his father’s eyes became black, that the elderly man grew in size and acquired a haircut like a Viking. He said his father thumped him in the back with the sword and that he (the accused) snapped.

The trial has already heard that Mr Boylan Jnr then stabbed his father 13 times in the chest, leaving the antique bayonet protruding from his body. He left, bought lighter fluid and matches, before returning and setting fire to the apartment.

Dr Linehan said that the accused was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2012 and she was satisfied that he was in the active phase of his mental illness and had a mental disorder at the time he killed his father.

“He was unable to refrain from his actions at the time due to his mental disorder,” she said, adding that he believed his father posed a threat to him after he perceived that his eyes had changed colour.

She said that the accused fulfilled the criteria for the special verdict of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’.

The defence called another consultant psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, Dr Paul O’Connell.

He had also assessed the accused and testified that it was beyond a reasonable doubt that he was psychotic when he killed his father. He said he also felt that the accused would have been unable to refrain from doing so and would not have been capable of appreciating that it was morally wrong.

“I think he meets the higher threshold for insanity,” he said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Carney and a jury of seven men and five women.

Irish Independent

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