Man found not guilty of Skerries murder by reason of insanity

Wednesday 03 February 2016 23.42
The incident happened at Mourne Park in Skerries on 14 November 2013
The incident happened at Mourne Park in Skerries on 14 November 2013

A 30-year-old man has been found not guilty of the murder of a Dublin granddad by reason of insanity.

Dragos Nica, of Mourne Park, Skerries, Co Dublin, had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of Michael Gannon, 55, at Mourne Park, Skerries, Co Dublin on 14 November 2013.

The three day trial heard that Mr Nica, who is originally from Bacau in Romania, had formed the belief that Mr Gannon’s daughter, Jade, had poisoned him.

The jury heard Mr Nica, who has lived in Ireland for 19 years, claimed he woke on the morning of 14 November 2013 with a numb finger and that his upper arm was "bubbling up".

The court heard the accused said: "I was freaking and panicking but I was going to take it out on the world."

It was following this that Mr Nica claims he armed himself with a second knife before going to Jade's house. 

The court heard previously that on the evening of the attack, Mr Gannon was babysitting his daughter two young children and a neighbour's child at Jade's house in Mourne Park, next door to Mr Nica's house.

The court heard Mr Gannon was making dinner when one of the children told him a man was looking in the window of the living-room.

Mr Gannon went to investigate, opened the door and the accused man was there, the court was told.

The jury were told Mr Gannon was stabbed and died within a few feet of the stabbing.

The court heard Mr Nica struck Mr Gannon over the chest.

Mr Nica then rang the emergency services claiming he had stabbed someone.

Earlier today, counsel for the prosecution, Patrick Treacy SC said: "Nobody is in anyway trying to downplay [what happened]. However, two psychiatrists agree with each other that at the time the stabbing of Mr Gannon took place, Mr Nica was suffering from an acute psychosis of schizophrenia," he said.

Defending counsel, Jonathan Kilfeather SC said: "Since this has happened, [Mr Nica] has been kept in a locked unit. The diagnosis hasn't changed - the treatment hasn't changed - as far as they are concerned he is still ill."

Speaking outside the court, Mr Gannon’s brother Patrick said that that his brother would do anything for anyone.

"He was a hard worker and would do anything for anyone. He was a cracker of a father and a cracker of a brother."

The jury of seven men and five women returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity after 45 minutes.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked the jury saying any other verdict would not have been consistent with the evidence and exempted them from jury duty for five years.

He said that Mr Nica is in need of in-patient care and committed him to the Central Mental Hospital to appear in court again on 15 February following examination by a medical officer.