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Man not guilty of brother’s murder by reason of insanity


A 43-year-old man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering his brother and attempting to murder his father at their home in Co Cork two years ago.

The Central Criminal Court heard both the prosecution and defence agreed that John Murphy Jr, of Seaview Avenue, Carrigaline, was in an acute psychotic state when he killed his brother Shane Murphy and tried to kill his father.

After deliberating for one hour and 43 minutes, the jury returned unanimous verdicts on the murder and attempted murder charges, along with two other charges of producing a knife during the incidents.

In the early hours of 26 March 2022, 75-year-old Weeshie Murphy was in bed, watching golf on TV, when his son John entered his bedroom at their home in Carrigaline, Co Cork and began strangling him for no reason.

Weeshie Murphy pleaded with him to stop and called for his other son Shane to help.

Shane came and pulled John off his father.

Weeshie Murphy escaped and ran out of the house.

John Murphy Jr then stabbed his brother Shane, before following his father outside and stabbing him a number of times.

He then returned to the house and stabbed Shane again.

Shane pleaded with him to stop, but John Murphy Jr stabbed him nine times in total, once through the heart and once through the left lung.

Shane died shortly afterwards.

A knife with an 18cm blade, broken at the handle, was found close to his body.

Outside, Weeshie Murphy flagged down a taxi and was brought to Cork University Hospital, where he was treated for ten days.

John Murphy Jr made his way to Passage West, 9km away, where he was arrested by gardaí later that morning.

Detective Garda Ian Breen told the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork, after his arrest, John Murphy Jr sang songs on the way to the garda station and ranted about politicians, lawyers and gardaí.

Detective Garda Breen said John Murphy blamed his father and brother for attacking him.

Psychiatrists for the prosecution and the defence told the jury of five women and seven men that John Murphy Jr was in an acute psychotic state at the time, as a result of schizophrenic illness.

They said his judgement was significantly impaired, he was suffering delusions and hallucinations and had lost touch with reality.

Prosecuting Senior Counsel Jane Hyland said this was a tragedy for the man who lost his life saving his father, for the family who remains and for the accused man himself.

The issue for the jury was to decide whether John Murphy Jr was not guilty by reason of insanity.

In her charge, Ms Justice Siobhan Lankford reminded the jury that both the prosecution and defence psychiatrists agreed John Murphy was suffering from a mental disorder.

She also said they agreed John Murphy did not know the nature and quality of the acts with which he was later charged, that he did not know what he was doing was wrong and that he was unable to refrain from these acts.

She said any one of these, coupled with a mental disorder, entitled the jury to return a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

She said in this case, the prosecution and defence agreed that all three applied.

She told the jury that, “technically”, there were three possible verdicts to each of the four counts on the indictment: guilty, not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity.

She said the jury’s decisions “must be unanimous”.

After deliberating for one hour and 43 minutes, the jury returned unanimous verdicts on the murder and attempted murder charges, along with two other charges of producing a knife during the incidents.

A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity means the jury found John Murphy Jr committed the acts alleged but, due to his mental state, ought not to be held responsible.

Ms Justice Siobhan Lankford adjourned the case to 7 May and ordered that John Murphy Jr be detained at the Central Mental Hospital.


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