Wednesday 22 May 2019

Woman admits fiance's manslaughter

Tina Cahill outside court in Sydney
Tina Cahill outside court in Sydney

David Looby

A Sydney court has heard a New Ross woman who killed her fiancé was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the period leading up to the tragic death in Australia,

Cathrina (Tina) Cahill (27), from New Ross, is due to be sentenced this Thursday, having entered a guilty plea to manslaughter of Enniscorthy man David 'Motcha' Walsh between February 17 and 18, 2017, at the home they shared in the Padstow area, around 20km from Sydney.

Her murder trial was due to get under way last Tuesday, but this was cancelled because of the manslaughter plea.

Mr Walsh (29) died after suffering a catastrophic injury to his neck caused by a broken bottle.

Ms Cahill's parents, Daniel and Rita, had travelled from New Ross to support their daughter and had a chance to speak with her in court on Tuesday.

Before changing her plea, Ms Cahill waved to her parents.

Defence barrister James Trevallion told the court of the 'provocation and controlling behaviour by the deceased toward Ms Cahill in the weeks and days before he died, shortly after the couple were engaged. 'How degrading and psychologically damaging and violent that behaviour was,' he said.

The defence argued that Ms Cahill carried out the killing under 'substantial impairment' and that she had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Mr Walsh's conduct towards her. Prosecutor Nanette Williams said the Crown accepted the plea to the less serious offence on the basis that Cahill was suffering an abnormality of mind at the time.

Justice Peter Johnson said she had a 'stormy' relationship with Mr Walsh.

Ms Cahill had been socialising with a number of friends that evening before a row broke out at the couple's home, with locals reporting loud noises coming from the property. Neighbours later described how they were woken by sirens and the sound of shattering glass shortly after midnight.

Paramedics worked on Mr Walsh at the scene, but were unable to save him.

The couple's two house-mates, now back in Ireland, could give evidence about the nature of the relationship, Mr Trevallion said.

They also were witnesses to events on February 17 at the Cock'N'Bull Hotel, the Doncaster Hotel and at the Padstow address, he added.

The Crown and defence have yet to prepare an agreed statement of facts for the judge to use as the basis for Ms Cahill's sentence hearing on Thursday and remanded Cahill in custody until that date.

Ms Williams said the Crown was seeking victim impact statements from a number of Mr Walsh's family members in Ireland. She said Mr Walsh had four children and several brothers who should be given the opportunity to give statements if they so wished.

She said she had spoken to the mother of three of Mr Walsh's children, and offered them the opportunity to provide statements.

Mr Walsh also has another child who is much younger and efforts are being made to contact the mother of that child.

Speaking outside the court after the hearing, Mr Trevallion said Ms Cahill was 'doing OK'.

Representatives of Mr Walsh's family were also present for the hearing.

Ms Cahill had worked in Melbourne after first emigrating before moving to Sydney with two friends from New Ross.

Mr Walsh, who is originally from Moran Park in Enniscorthy, was facing a number of charges in Ireland but had moved to Australia.

The charges included an assault of his ex-partner in 2012, assaulting three gardaí at Enniscorthy Garda Station that same year and three other assault charges.

These included assault causing harm to an Enniscorthy man at Burger Macs on Selskar Street, Wexford, on June 9, 2013, and assault on another local man which took place on April 15, 2012.

Mr Walsh was also facing a charge of assaulting three gardai at Enniscorthy Garda Station at the beginning of 2012.

The investigation into his killing was led by the Bankstown Station in Sydney and the New South Wales Homicide Squad, with assistance from the Irish consulate in Sydney.

New Ross Standard