Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Image: PA Images

Man who killed neighbour with crowbar to be committed to Central Mental Hospital for 'lengthy' period

Richard McLaughlin was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of Jimmy ‘James’ Loughlin.
Jul 16th 2019, 1:07 PM 27,333 44

A 32-YEAR-OLD man who beat his neighbour to death with a crowbar after breaking into his Sligo home has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital having been found not guilty of his murder by reason of insanity. 

Richard McLaughlin, with an address at The Laurels, Woodtown Lodge, Sligo was last week found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of Jimmy ‘James’ Loughlin (20) at Connolly Street in Sligo on 24 February, 2018. 

The court heard that Mr McLaughlin broke down the door of Mr Loughlin’s home at 1.18 pm and beat him to death with a crowbar while suffering from delusions brought on by paranoid schizophrenia.

Pathologist Dr Linda Mulligan said the deceased died from traumatic head injuries sustained during an assault. 

The parents of the deceased told the Central Criminal Court last week that it was “unacceptable” that someone so dangerous and known to mental health services was living just a few doors from their “defenceless” son.

They said their son Jimmy had never had any contact with Mr McLaughlin before he “broke through Jimmy’s front door and attacked him violently with a crowbar.” 

In a statement read to the court on their behalf they said:

To discover that someone so dangerous was living just a few doors down the road and known to mental health services in Sligo is totally unacceptable. 

It emerged during the trial that a psychiatrist previously had concerns that the man responsible for the killing was at risk of murdering someone due to his delusional beliefs. 

Prosecution counsel Fiona Murphy SC today called Dr Sally Linehan, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH), to report on Mr McLaughlin’s condition. 

Dr Linehan said that she had been responsible for Mr McLaughlin’s care at the CMH since 7 August, 2018 and had prepared a report in order to advise the court on whether he was suffering from a mental disorder and in need of inpatient treatment in a designated centre. 

The witness said she assessed Mr McLaughlin last week on 11 July for the purposes of preparing a report and the defendant had consented to the assessment. 

Dr Linehan said Mr McLaughlin was first admitted to the CMH on 22 June, 2018 and had presented with clear evidence of a psychiatric illness and suffered with delusions at the time. 

“He continued his medication following his admission but it did not have the adequate response so he commenced on Olanzapine,” explained Dr Linehan. 

Dr Linehan said the defendant has been compliant with his individual treatment plan and has begun to develop an insight into his mental illness. 

The witness said she assessed Mr McLaughlin on 11 July and did not find evidence of a mood disorder and he had denied feeling depressed.

“He continues to express delusional beliefs concerning cloning but denied experiencing hallucinations,” she outlined. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

He suffers from schizophrenia and is in need of inpatient care and treatment in a designated centre, said Dr Linehan, adding that he is in the early stages of rehabilitation.

His condition will be reviewed by the Mental Health Review Board on a six-month basis, she remarked. 

Dr Linehan recommended to the court that the defendant be committed to the CMH and she confirmed that there was a bed available for him there today and staff were present in court to escort him to Dundrum. 

The witness agreed with Ms Murphy that it is envisaged that Mr McLaughlin’s detention in the CMH will be lengthy.

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart noted that she had heard the evidence from two consultant psychiatrists last week and from Dr Linehan today and said the court was in “no doubt” that Mr McLaughlin is suffering from a mental disorder. 

Following this, Ms Justice Stewart made an order committing the defendant to the CMH for inpatient care.

The judge also reiterated her condolences to the Loughlin family and Mrs McLaughlin saying: “Clearly all parties are extremely distressed by these matters.”

Send a tip to the author

Alison O'Riordan and Eoin Reynolds


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top