Sunday 18 February 2018

Woman not guilty of murdering partner by reason of insanity

A WEXFORD woman has been found not guilty by reason of insanity for the murder of her partner at their home in 2012.

Caroline Roche (52) from Ballyedmond Monamolin in Wexford pleaded not guilty earlier this week to murdering Walter Plunkett by reason of insanity.

The three-day trial heard that Mr Plunkett had lived at the same address in Wexford with his partner Caroline Roche for over 10 years.

Michael Delaney SC defending reminded the jury early today what a dangerous affliction it is to suffer from the illness Caroline Roche has and how dangerous it can be if it is not treated in the appropriate way.

He spoke of Miss Roche’s 30 year history of schizoaffective disorder, multiple instances of hospitalisation and difficulties she had in relation to compliance with her medication.

He said that Caroline Roche was going out of her way to tell people that she killed Walter Plunkett and say she is not sorry for it asking the jury to contrast that with someone who has committed a murder and wishes to conceal actions. 

Mr Delaney concluded with evidence given by Dr Wright who said that Caroline Roche, by reason of her illness, would not have had the capacity to form intent.

Mr Justice Barry White addressed the jury prior to deliberation reminding them that Dr Wright had come to the conclusion that because Miss Roche is mentally ill, she did not know the nature and quality of what she was doing, she did not know it was wrong and that she was unable to refrain from committing the act.

Adding that there was no reason why one should doubt what Dr Wright said, Mr Justice White said that this is a case where the appropriate verdict is one of not guilty by insanity.

The jury of six men and six women returned with a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity after twenty-four minutes.

Mr Justice White thanked the jury for their service and exempted them from further service for a period of five years.

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