Wednesday 22 May 2019

Australian trial is told of Tina's hell

Cathrina Cahill at the court
Cathrina Cahill at the court

A New Ross woman who killed her fiancé in Sydney has told a judge of his repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body.

Cathrina 'Tina' Cahill, 27, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David 'Motcha' Walsh, 29, after fatally wounding him in the neck in the early hours of February 18 last year at the Padstow home they shared with two other Irish nationals.

Cahill was originally charged with murder but the Crown accepted her plea to the less serious charge on the basis of substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind at the time.

A 19-page statement of agreed facts submitted to New South Wales Supreme Court outlined the explosive events leading up to Cahill stabbing her fiancé of five weeks to death.

According to the statement of facts, the couple started the night at popular Irish hang-out the Cock 'N' Bull bar in Bondi Junction with their friends Grace Keegan and Melissa Sinnott and later moved to the Doncaster Hotel. A row broke out between Cahill and Mr Walsh after Ms Sinnott commented how attractive Tina's ex-boyfriend was.

The girls headed back to their Padstow home at 8 p.m., changed clothes, locked the house and walked to the Padstow Park Hotel. At the hotel, they met a man called Matthew Hyde after he introduced himself and bought them a round of drinks. He joined them for the rest of the evening.

Mr Walsh went to the Coach And Horses Hotel at Randwick at 8.33 p.m. where he got into a fight with an Irishman named Richard Lindsay who went to A&E where he received four stitches to his face and four stitches to the back of his head. At 11.39 p.m., Ms Keegan received text messages with three photos from Mr Walsh. They showed broken glass on the floor with blood. Cahill, Ms Sinnott, Ms Keegan and Mr Hyde left the pub shortly before midnight and headed for their house where they found the front door smashed and a trail of blood leading from the hallway to the kitchen floor and sitting room. Mr Walsh was on the couch and his wrist was cut but not bleeding profusely. Mr Walsh assaulted Mr Hyde, biting him on his face breaking the skin and causing him to bleed.

One of the girls managed to pull Mr Walsh off him. Cahill was screaming out: 'Stop it Davey, get off, get off. Cop on. He's with Grace.' Cahill tried to grab Mr Walsh's arms and he swung his arm back. Cahill fell to the ground. She moved towards Mr Walsh and punched him in the face with a closed fist. He pushed Cahill again. Ms Keegan saw Mr Walsh try to punch Cahill in the face but didn't know if he hit her. Cahill was holding her head as she got up and walked towards the kitchen. She was crying hysterically. Ms Keegan and Cahill shouted 'call the police'. Ms Sinnott repeatedly told Cahill to 'calm the f*** down'. Cahill opened the cutlery drawer and took out a very large, sharp-bladed knife. Ms Sinnott told Cahill over and over again 'put it back'. She replied: 'No, he needs to be taught a lesson, it's not fair, look at poor Matthew.'

Ms Sinnott went upstairs to call the police and locked herself in the bathroom. As she went upstairs, Mr Walsh released his grip on Mr Hyde and Ms Keegan pushed him up against the kitchen wall.

Documents indicate Cahill than walked quickly towards Mr Walsh with the long-bladed knife 'fixated on Davey'.

Cahill then stabbed Mr Walsh in the neck, the knife hit him in the left side of his neck causing a 4cm stab wound. Cahill did not say anything and pulled the knife out straight away and dropped it on the floor. The wound started to bleed profusely with blood coming out of Mr Walsh's mouth. Ms Keegan placed a tea towel on the wound and Mr Walsh shouted: 'Call an ambulance, call an ambulance.'

He stumbled away in a daze out of the front of the house. Ms Sinnott called an ambulance. When she came downstairs from the bathroom where she had locked herself, Cahill told her: 'He's gone mental Melissa. I can't cope no more. I can't believe what I just done. I'm so sorry.'

When police arrived at the scene, they found Mr Walsh on the ground being held in the recovery position by Mr Hyde and Cahill was sobbing kneeling about two metres away from them.

When they asked what happened, Cahill said: 'They were fighting and he [Mr Walsh] grabbed a knife and came at him [Mr Hyde]. I stepped in to help and stabbed him [Mr Walsh]. I stabbed him.'

Shortly after the police noted Mr Walsh had stopped breathing and started CPR. Paramedics soon arrived and attempted to save Mr Walsh but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.55 a.m.

The court was told Cahill was previously charged with one count of reckless wounding of Mr Walsh in relation to him being injured after she threw a large candle at him in November 2015. She was convicted of the offence in her absence and placed on a two-year bond in April 2016 at Waverley Local Court. A former house-mate of the engaged couple testified that she saw Cahill stab Mr Walsh in the back of his head on October 3, 2015. Cahill said she could not look at other men when she was out with Mr Walsh. She said she couldn't look in the mirror when driving as there might be a male driver behind. If she did, she said Mr Walsh would say: 'I hope you got a good look slut.'

The 27-year-old, who was supported by her parents Dan and Rita and family, testified that Mr Walsh blocked people from her Facebook account, deleted texts and numbers from her phone and was convinced she was having an affair with her boss. She said he would come to her work to wait for her and make a gesture - which she demonstrated - of running a finger across his throat. Cahill told the judge of a string of incidents when Mr Walsh punched men - including his friend Paul Mulligan, who had just arrived to stay at their house. 'I was in my bedroom and David came and out of nowhere started accusing me of being with Paul Mulligan which was totally untrue,' she said.

'David came out and just hit Paul', who then moved out. Another time she was with a female friend at a hotel when a man started talking to the other woman. 'David came in and hit the guy so hard he landed on the floor,' she said. 'He said "he won't look at my missus again".'

Mr Walsh punched numerous holes in the house walls, threw a glass bottle through a new TV and 'would constantly break things in the house'. He would grab her face 'and constantly bite me, that was his thing', she said.

Victim impact statements written by four of David Walsh's brothers were read out. Mr Walsh's distraught father died 10 months later from a 'broken heart' having told another of his sons 'I don't want him up there on his own', those in attendance at the hearing heard. They said their father died 10 months later 'from a broken heart', while their mother had become an empty shell of her former self.

The sentencing hearing continues.

New Ross Standard