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Man who stabbed mother to death found not guilty by reason of insanity

Ann Henry died in September 2011.

A ROSCOMMON MAN who stabbed his mother to death over four years ago has been found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity.

Paul Henry (29) with an address at Ardsallagh, Athlone Road, Roscommon was charged with murdering his mother Ann Henry at Abbeystown, Ballyphesan in Roscommon town on September 17 2011.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Henry pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Henry by reason of insanity.

At the beginning of the trial defence counsel Colm Smyth SC told the jury of eight men and four women that his client admitted he killed his mother.

During the trial Smyth called consultant psychiatrist Professor Tom Fahey to give evidence and he told the court Mr Henry suffers from a psychotic disorder which he called “delusional disorder”.

The court heard in Professor Fahey’s opinion Paul Henry was “unable to refrain from committing the act” and this “propelled him” to acting in the way in which he said he did.

Yesterday prosecution counsel Caroline Biggs SC called forensic psychiatrist Dr Brenda Wright to give evidence and she diagnosed Paul Henry with “paranoid schizophrenia”.

Dr Wright said at the time Mr Henry did not have the capacity to form intent because of his mental disorder.

Unanimous verdict

The jury spent one hour 36 minutes deliberating before bringing in a unanimous verdict of not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

After they had delivered their verdict, Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked the 12 jurors for their service and the “painstaking approach they took”.

Mr Justice Hunt then addressed the jury saying:

You decided the verdict with great care and detail. It’s a legally correct verdict on the evidence and a humane verdict. Mr Henry is a very unwell man and it would be inhumane to treat him as a criminal. I think it is 100% likely he will committed to a place where he will be safe.

The judge then said that jury service is essential and he is always impressed by “the serious and considered approach juries take.”

“You have to react in a cold way when dealing with hot issues,” he said.

Mr Justice Hunt exempted them from jury service for six years.

The judge then ordered that Mr Henry be detained in the Central Mental Hospital and put in the matter for tomorrow morning at 10.30am.

Read: Mother stabbed to death by son “was prepared to sacrifice her own happiness”>

About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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