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Irish man’s trial for killing own mother with a hatchet reopened

The trial of 29-year-old Irish man Patrick Dunne who killed his own mother with a hatchet, was reopened on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old victim, Susan Dunne, received five fatal blows to the head between November 26 and 27 at their house in Ballingeragh, Lixnaw, Co Kerry. Her lifeless body was found in her bedroom between 11 and 11:30 AM on November 27. Dominic McGinn SC formally pronounced her dead at 11:51 AM.

A murder trial jury heard that Patrick Dunne admitted to the crime in 2013. The Irish Mirror also reports that during the opening trial at the Central Criminal Court, “a prosecuting barrister said that expert psychiatrists for both the prosecution and defence are in agreement that the accused was insane ‘as defined by law’ at the time of his mother’s death.”

Dunne’s defendant, Patrick Gageby SC, made a number of admissions to the court, including that Dunne killed his mother “without any lawful justification.”

Patrick Dunne, who was 19 years old at the time of the crime, was diagnosed with autism at an early age. The counsel told the jury that the accused also required additional care due to his developmental disability.

The prosecution barrister told the court that the members of the Lixnaw and Listowel communities were used to seeing the victim driving in her car with her son in the backseat. McGinn also added that Ms Dunne regularly collected her son’s disability allowance from the post office.

On November 27, their neighbours were alarmed after seeing Patrick going to the post office by himself and driving around unaccompanied in his mother’s car. This led to the neighbours’ decision to go to the Dunne house to check on the mother. When they found the front door unlocked but one of the internal doors locked, they decided to force open the locked bedroom door and found the deceased Susan Dunne.

Gageby asserts that Patrick Dunne is not guilty by reason of insanity. The trial will resume before Justice Mary Ellen Ring and a jury of five men and seven women.

Representation. Police arrested 31-year-old Edielson Santos Vidal after the body of his 22-year-old partner, Jackeline de Costa Melo, was found in their home. Photo: Pixabay
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