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Dublin: 14°C Friday 25 June 2021

Man pleads not guilty by insanity to murdering mother with mug

The trial of Bijan Afshar is expected to last three days.

Image: Shutterstock/hin255

A YOUNG MAN man who beat his mother to death with a mug has pleaded not guilty to her murder by reason of insanity at the Central Criminal Court.

The trial of Bijan Afshar (23), from Killarney Road, Bray, Co Wicklow, is expected to last three days.

Afshar is charged with the murder of his mother Lynn Cassidy (50), on 26 or 27 June 2014 at her home in Deepdales, Bray, Co Wicklow.

Psychiatrist evidence

Counsel for the prosecution Paul Burns SC told the jury of six men and six women that they will hear from two psychiatrists. He said it would be up to the jury to decide whether they agree that the accused was “unable to refrain from committing the act, the killing in question” because of his mental condition.

Detective Sergeant Eamonn O’Neill of Bray Garda Station agreed with Burns that Bijan Afshar is the eldest of four sons and that he lived with his father and one of his brothers since his parents split in 2008.

The two youngest boys lived with their mother. Bijan had a difficult relationship with his mother, often only communicating with her through messages passed between them by his brothers.

In 2008 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum.

Garda O’Neill said this meant that he found it difficult to interact with others and build relationships.

As a teenager he had become increasingly difficult and stopped going to school. When his father became concerned about his over-use of the internet, he took away his modem but the boy’s reaction was unreasonable and he became even more reclusive.

Garda interview

Detective Sergeant O’Neill agreed that gardai had interviewed Afshar at Bray Garda Station on 27 and 28 June 2014.

In the first interview he told gardaí that before he attacked his mother he had become worried about losing the house he shared with his father and brother. The house had been sold and they were going to move to Baltinglass, which he said was miles away from Bray and in the middle of nowhere.

He said he was worried that people were going to break into their home in Bray and “kick us out”.

On the evening of 26 June he called over to his mother’s house while the rest of his family was with his father. He told her that he was worried, stressed and feeling suicidal.

He asked her to do something to slow down the sale of the house but she said she had no control over it. “I knew she had some control,” he said.

He became frustrated by her responses, which he said were “robotic” and sounded rehearsed, like she wasn’t really listening to him.

“I kind of lost control,” he said, before describing the violent attack on his mother. “I was totally out of control with anger.”

He said he grabbed her by the neck and grappled with her on the ground. He saw a white mug and grabbed it and hit her with it on the head.

“There was a bunch of blood,” he told gardaí. After a while he noticed that she wasn’t moving. “I couldn’t believe what had happened,” he said.

Body discovered

He put a blanket over her body, removed his blood-stained hooded top and washed his hands. He said he just wanted to get out of there and so he left and walked home.

Lynn Cassidy’s body was discovered shortly after midnight that night and Bijan Afshar was arrested the following morning when gardaí found him in bed at his home on Killarney Road.

The jury also heard that deputy state pathologist Dr Michael Curtis examined Lynn Cassidy’s body and concluded that she died from severe blunt force trauma to the head with neck compression as a contributing factor.

Reading out Dr Curtis’s evidence, Burns described more than a dozen lacerations and bruises to her head and face and a compound fracture to her skull. He also found evidence of bruising to her neck that would suggest significant force had been applied.

The trial continues before Justice Isobel Kennedy tomorrow.

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