Ex-nanny blames brain bug for harassing couple

Declan Brennan

A CHILDMINDER who described herself as a "mad crazy psycho" began harassing a young south Dublin couple after a serious brain injury changed her personality.

Caitriona Walsh (30) of Pearse Avenue, Sallynoggin, pleaded guilty to the harassment of David Murphy between June 11, 2008 and June 4, 2009.

Walsh had worked as a nanny for Mr Murphy and his wife Orla Tormey's five children for six years but in December 2006 she contracted viral encephalitis, an infection of the brain.

Garda Colin Connolly told the court that when Walsh returned to work after weeks in hospital the couple noticed a change in her personality.

He said things came to a head in June 2008 when they decided to terminate her employment. They refused to provide a job reference for Walsh because they believed she wasn't well.

Gda Connolly said that Walsh then sent an email to Mr Murphy in which she claimed that there had been a sexual relationship between the two of them.

In the same email she referred to herself as a "mad crazy psycho" and said she was angry about losing her job.

The court heard that between June and November 2008 Walsh sent 59 texts to the couple, including one text to Ms Tormey in which she said her husband was having an affair.

Feargal Kavanagh, defending, said that a "serious brain injury" caused by the brain disease and that accompanying "near-death experience" had changed his client's personality.

He said that through her actions she had lost the family she dearly loved and they had lost a "very able and committed child minder".

Judge Desmond Hogan said he thought jail was not appropriate but that he had to make sure that Walsh didn't repeat her actions. He remanded her on bail until July and ordered her to undergo an assessment by the probation services.