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Irish woman who killed her fiance in Sydney says she feared him but 'loved him dearly'

A prosecutor noted that Cathrina Cahill previously told police she did not fear him.

Image: Joe;l Carrett/AAP/PA Images

AN IRISH WOMAN who killed her fiance in Sydney has told a judge she did not leave the “controlling and fairly unpleasant” man as she loved him dearly.

“I honestly thought he was going to change,” Cathrina Cahill, known as Tina, said at her sentence hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court yesterday.

“He was someone I did love and adore.”

The 27-year-old has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh, 29, who she stabbed once in the neck in the early hours of 18 February, 2017, at the Padstow home they shared with two other Irish women.

Her plea was based on substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind.

At the time, she was on a good behaviour bond and the subject of an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) issued to protect Walsh, after she was convicted of recklessly wounding him with a glass candle holder in 2015.

Cahill previously gave evidence about his repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body, his accusations of her sleeping with other men and his deleting texts from her phone.

Prosecutor Nanette Williams noted Cahill told police, after an AVO was issued against Walsh to protect her, that she held no fears against him.

“I was in fear of getting in more trouble from David if I told the truth,” she said, saying she also wanted to protect him.

She had packed her bags many times to leave him, but Walsh would tell her everything was going to be different.

He would be making me dinner, buying me flowers, buying me a teddy bear but after two to three weeks it would go back to the way it was.

She agreed with Justice Peter Johnson that her evidence revealed a “pretty stormy relationship” and that Walsh might be seen to be a “controlling and fairly unpleasant person”.

But she said she stayed with him as “I loved him very dearly”.

CATHRINA CAHILL COURT The parents of Cathrina Cahill, Rita Cahill (left) and Daniel Cahill (right) arrive for her sentence hearing at the Supreme Court in Sydney. Source: DEAN LEWINS/AAP Image

Fatal attack

The fatal attack occurred when an intoxicated Walsh launched an unprovoked attack on a man invited into the home by Cahill and the two other female housemates.

Cahill, who also had been drinking, was punched by her fiance when trying to stop the attack, before she took out a “large, very sharp, bladed knife” from the cutlery drawer and stabbed him.

Nanette Williams submitted it was “an attack of extreme violence” upon a relatively young man who was being activity restrained by a third person at the time.

The cases of violence from Walsh to Cahill, on the agreed facts, were limited while her attacks on him had involved a candle and a knife in an incident prior to the fatal attack.

Cahill’s barrister James Trevallion said there was no evidence his client had ever struck Walsh without any provocation and noted she was smaller than him.

He submitted she had no intention to kill, the stabbing had involved a single jab and Walsh was the one who initiated the violence.

Justice Johnson, who said the case involved “unusual features” such as a “type of two-way domestic violence”, will sentence Cahill on 12 December.

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About the author:

Margaret Scheikowski

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