Sunday 26 May 2019

Son knifed mum in head to 'set her free from cruelty of life'

Paul Horgan received a mandatory life sentence for killing his mother Marian with a broken kitchen knife in November 2015. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts
Paul Horgan received a mandatory life sentence for killing his mother Marian with a broken kitchen knife in November 2015. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

Ralph Riegel

A young man who said he only intended to set his mother free because of the cruelty of life has been convicted of her murder after stabbing her in the head with a broken kitchen knife.

Paul Horgan (27) remained emotionless as a Central Criminal Court jury convicted him of the murder of his mother Marian (60), after deliberating for just over an hour.

Judge Patrick McCarthy imposed a mandatory life sentence after being told the Horgan family did not wish to make a victim impact statement.

Members of the Horgan family present in court comforted each other after the sentencing.

Marian Horgan was fatally stabbed at her Murmont Avenue home in Montenotte, Cork, on November 23, 2015.

A broken kitchen knife was found embedded in her head.

The blade had been driven through the back of her skull, severed her jugular vein, ran underneath her jawbone and lodged in her tongue.

The defendant insisted at the trial he only intended to set free his parents, Marian and Billy Horgan, and then free himself.

Horgan earlier drank two bottles of wine while watching seven episodes of 'Family Guy' and then a Harry Potter film, and told arresting gardaí he had absolutely no recollection of the fatal stabbing almost three years ago.

His mother was found by gardaí, lying in a pool of blood between the kitchen and hallway of her home with the broken knife protruding from the back of her head.

His father, Billy, had also suffered serious injuries.

But Paul Horgan insisted he did not intend to kill anyone.

"I wanted to set her [his mother] free, not that I meant to kill her," he said.

"I did not intend to kill her. I intended to set her free because life is so cruel. My own life was cruel too.

"I wanted to set her free. My mother did not deserve cruelty."

He acknowledged that he had the same intention for his father and himself.

"I was going to set him free too," he said.

Billy Horgan suffered serious injuries but had refused to press charges against his son.

The young man, in answer to a question referencing his father, expressed his regret.

"Yeah, I am so sorry - I didn't mean it at all. I don't know how it happened."

He insisted he does not recall the events of that November morning.

"Horrible - it is hard to listen to everything [in evidence]. But I don't remember it, like."

In cross-examination, Tom Creed SC, for the State, pointed out that Paul Horgan was assessed in the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dundrum.

"At the time of this offence, you were not suffering from a mental disorder," Mr Creed said.

The defendant insisted that he was only found not to be suffering from "a serious mental disorder".

However, Mr Creed challenged that and pointed to a CMH report that stressed the defendant was not assessed as suffering from a mental disorder as defined under legislation.

"It was not like my thoughts were normal," the young man said.

He explained that, after the confrontation with his parents, he went back upstairs to his bedroom, leaving a trail of blood behind him.

"I was walking upstairs whistling a marching tune I was hearing," he said.

Moments later, the young man followed his injured father out onto the street in front of their house and was disarmed and forcibly restrained by shocked neighbours.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster found that Ms Horgan died from a single stab injury to her head.

Dr Bolster said Ms Horgan died from shock and haemorrhage.

"Significant force would have been required to inflict this [fatal] wound," Dr Bolster said.

Paul Horgan insisted he did not remember the incident.

"I just remember pieces. I was drinking to forget.

"I don't remember anything after the second bottle of wine," he said.

The young man explained to gardaí that he only drank when he felt depressed.

"Just on a bad day when I am feeling a bit depressed - it annoys me that I cannot talk to women," he said.

"I am not even good on dating sites."

Horgan acknowledged to gardaí that he smoked cannabis but insisted he had not done so for at least two weeks before November 23, 2015.

Irish Independent

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