A 63-year-old man accused of murdering his elderly mother in a violent incident at his home said Gardaí had no choice but to kill her as God commanded him.
The jury in the trial of Brendan Murray, 63, at Kincora Court, Contarf, Dublin 3, heard the accused Gardaí say he was prompted by the Holy Spirit to beat and choke his mother before claiming he had her sexually assaulted. The Central Criminal Court heard that there was no evidence Mr Murray committed a sexual assault on the victim.
Mr. Murray has pleaded not guilty to insanity charges in the murder of Neasa Murray, 88, on August 23, 2020 in Kincora Court.
Opening the case for prosecutors, Anne-Marie Lawlor SC said there was no controversy as to what happened and no controversy as to who did it. The question is whether Mr Murray met the criteria for insanity when he killed his mother.
She said the defense used evidence from psychiatrist Dr. Brenda Wright who will present her expert opinion that Mr. Murray has schizoaffective disorder and does not know what he is doing wrong.
“This case concerns Mr Murray’s psychiatric condition at the time he killed his mother. Criminal responsibility depends on a guilty mind accompanying guilty acts,” Ms. Lawlor said.
Detective Sergeant David Ennis testified to Ms Lawlor that Ms Murray, a mother of five, lived at the family home on nearby Kincora Drive and was acting in a carer role for their son Brendan. Det Sgt Ennis said Mr Murray’s neighbors watched him outside his house that day in his pajamas looking disheveled. A neighbor helped him call his mother when he said he was locked out and wanted his mother to bring a key.
The neighbor said Mr Murray’s behavior was erratic and he collected bins and used a crutch as if it were a gun. “I’m a bit confused,” Mr. Murray told the neighbor. Det Sgt Ennis said a neighbor gardaí said Mr Murray said God had told him to stop taking his medication and with God’s help he would be better. The neighbor said Mr Murray appeared “very distant”.
Ms Murray arrived and she and her son went into the house before later coming out and Ms Murray getting into her car. Mr. Murray, who the neighbor said seemed to be wearing clothes now, put his hand on her wrist and she went back into the house.
Det Sgt Ennis said another neighbor told Gardaí she heard screams coming from inside the house and Mr Murray yelled at his mother. The neighbor said she heard Ms Murray being attacked so she got her husband to call the Gardaí. The neighbor also thought she heard a moment of laughter, but couldn’t be sure.
When the Gardaí arrived at the scene, Mr. Murray opened the door with blood on his pants, sweater and hands. Det Sgt. Ennis said Mr. Murray told Gardaí he killed his mother. The Gardaí found Ms Murray face up covered in blood, with much blood on the ground around her. Det Sgt Ennis said it was immediately clear Ms Murray had been the subject of a violent incident and there was no prospect of rescue.
An autopsy determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation due to mechanical airway obstruction and blunt trauma to the head.
Det Sgt Ennis said that when Mr Murray was arrested and taken to Garda station, he was struggling in his seat, shouting abusively and praying aloud. He made numerous attempts to run to the door and the gardaí, and he also referred to the Bible and God.
Det Sgt Ennis said Mr Murray said to gardaí: ‘I had to do it, I had no choice, God made me do it. I was in the special forces. I have Lyme disease.”
Det Sgt Ennis said the defendant provided an “awareness reflection on abuse and hostages” during the Garda interview.
He said the defendant said his mother was “frighteningly strong for 88” and that she died of a heart attack due to “divine intervention”. Det Sgt Ennis said Mr Murray was crying and appeared to be reciting prayers. Mr Murray told the Gardaí he “started beating them around” because God commanded him to. Det Sgt Ennis said the defendant also sang a religious song during the interview.
Det Sgt Ennis said the defendant’s interviews with Gardaí were “messed up” and very difficult to write down.
“Our Lord told me I must kill them, they or I. God told me to do it. She went into shock, God was telling me to move on,” Mr Murray said.
“The Holy Spirit told me to keep boxing her. The Holy Spirit instructed me to box her nine times. I tried to choke her; I was commanded by the Holy Spirit to choke her.”
In response to cross-examination by defense counsel Padraig Dwyer SC, Det Sgt Ennis said Mr Murray had no criminal record. He confirmed that the alleged sexual assault Mr Murray allegedly carried out was not reflected at the crime scene.
The trial resumes Friday before Ms. Judge Eileen Creedon and the jury of eight men and four women.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/man-accused-of-murder-of-his-elderly-mother-told-gardai-god-made-me-do-it-trial-told-42223168.html The man accused of murdering his elderly mother told Gardaí: “God made me do this,” the trial said