Man not guilty of murdering his mother by reason of insanity

Wednesday 18 December 2013 19.18
Niall Stapleton killed his mother Siobhán in Kilkenny last year
Niall Stapleton killed his mother Siobhán in Kilkenny last year

A 32-year-old man with a history of psychiatric illness has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of his mother in Co Kilkenny last year.

Niall Stapleton of Glebe Lodge, Kilfane, Thomastown had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of his mother Siobhán at their home on 25 May 2012.

She died after her son attacked and beat her with the handle of a garden fork.

The trial heard Mr Stapleton had stopped taking his medication for schizophrenia in the weeks before the killing.

He had been diagnosed with the illness some years previously and had been hospitalised a number of times.

Experts for the prosecution and the defence agreed that Mr Stapleton was suffering from a mental disorder when he killed his mother and did not know at the time that what he was doing was wrong.

Mr Stapleton had active symptoms of schizophrenia at the time and believed his mother had been taken over by an imposter.

He was unable to refrain from striking her.

A post mortem showed she had suffered several fractures to her skull and had more than 20 separate injuries.

The jury was told the law required that it must decide if Mr Stapleton met the criteria to allow them to find he was suffering from a mental disorder and could be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

After deliberating for just over two hours, the jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow for the preparation of psychiatric reports from the Central Mental Hospital, where Mr Stapleton has been an inpatient since shortly after the killing.