Sunday 21 January 2018

Woman who threatened to cut teen neighbour's head off found not guilty by reason of insanity

Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) Dublin
Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) Dublin

Aaron Rogan

A woman who threatened to cut her teenage neighbour’s head off with a makeshift spear has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The woman pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary on April 9, 2012 during which she threatened the girl and her boyfriend.

The girl, who was 16 at the time, told gardai that she was watching TV with her boyfriend at 6am when her neighbour came into the apartment carrying a stick with a knife attached to the end.

She said the Dublin woman pointed the knife at them and threatened to chop her head off.

The woman took a step towards the woman while her boyfriend remained in the kitchen. At that point she said the woman moved towards her and held the knife inches from her face.

The woman then left the apartment, taking the keys to the back door with her. The witness said she then heard shouting: “Next time I will put a syringe in your neck and give you AIDS.”

Her boyfriend, who was 17 at the time, held the door closed while gardaí were called. He described the woman’s weapon as a “broom handle with a kitchen knife tied to the top.”

He said that she screamed aggressively when she entered the apartment telling them to turn the TV down even though it was muted at the time.

He said she called the girl and her mother “dirty Brits.” He said he remembered one of the threats the woman made as “I’ll kill you and your ugly boyfriend.”

Dr Paul O’Connell from the Central Mental Hospital told Giollaíosa O’Lideadha SC, defending, that  the woman suffered from paranoid delusions at the time leading up the incident.

Psychiatrists for both the defence and prosecution said that she suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and both said a defence of insanity is appropriate.

The jury returned a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict after one hour of deliberation.

Judge Sarah Berkley ordered that the woman remain under the care of the psychiatric unit she is currently with until a bed becomes available for inpatient assessment at the Central Mental Hospital.

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