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Son thought knife death mum was the devil

A man who killed his mother in a frenzied stabbing attack in the Republic of Ireland believing she was the devil was yesterday found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity.

Seamus Marrinan Junior (30) told gardai how he took a picture of the Sacred Heart from a wall and hit his mother Carmel with it because he wanted to "smash Jesus Christ into my mother".

His family wept as they listened to evidence of how he stabbed Mrs Marrinan, a 61-year-old nurse, 15 times with a kitchen knife on the stairway of their home on Newport Road, Castlebar, Co Mayo, in the early hours of July 8, 2009.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court took just nine minutes to return their verdict of not guilty of murder by reason of insanity after which Mr Marrinan was embraced by members of his family. He was then returned to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum where he has been undergoing treatment for the past year.

The court heard that Mr Marrinan had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and suffered delusions including believing his food was poisoned and that members of his family had been replaced by the devil. He also reported hearing voices that weren't there.

Opening the trial, Mary Ellen Ring, prosecuting, told the jury that the evening before the killing at the Marrinan family home had been very ordinary and uneventful with the accused, his father, also called Seamus, his mother and two of his six siblings having dinner together and watching television.

In the early hours of the following morning, Siobhan Marrinan, a daughter of the deceased, woke after hearing a loud roar. She rushed to the stairs where she found her mother lying on the ground with her brother on top of her.

Ms Marrinan, who was studying to be a nurse, made desperate efforts to resuscitate her mother. However, Mrs Marrinan could not be revived and was pronounced dead later that morning at Mayo General Hospital.

Detective Sergeant James Carroll, of Castlebar garda station, told the court that when gardai arrived at the scene they found the accused in a very agitated state and he had to be restrained. The accused's clothing and hands were spattered with blood and he was talking about the devil.

During interviews with gardai, Mr Marrinan said he had decided to kill his mother earlier that night because she was "the devil" and had taken a knife from a kitchen drawer.

He said: "When she came into my room it was in a devil-like manner. She screamed and her face contorted, her personality changed."

Asked why a broken picture of the Sacred Heard was found at the scene of the killing, he admitted hitting Mrs Marrinan with it because "I wanted to smash Jesus Christ into my mother".

Dr Helen O'Neill, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, said the accused had no prior psychiatric history, although his mother had taken him to his GP in 2002 because he was feeling "a bit low". It was thought this may have been connected to his use of cannabis.

Mr Marrinan told Dr O'Neill that, in the month prior to the killing, he felt "strange", more alert and alive and believed he could control things with his voice. "It was a good feeling, almost mystical. I thought I was connected to some kind of Celtic mysticism," he said.

Dr O'Neill said that while the accused may have understood the factual nature of what he was doing, he did not understand that what he was doing was wrong, nor could he refrain from doing it.

"It is a very sad account of the onset of schizophrenia in a young man. It may seem surprising that a mental illness can come out of the blue but from the point of view of a psychiatrist it is not surprising," she added.

Source Irish Independent

Belfast Telegraph