Alcohol influenced behaviour on night of killing says forensic psychiatrist

Paula Farrell
Paula Farrell

A consultant forensic psychiatrist has told the trial of a 42-year-old Louth woman charged with murdering her partner last year that in her expert opinion alcohol intoxication was the primary factor that influenced the accused's behaviour on the night of the offence.

Paula Farrell with an address at Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth is charged with murdering Wayne McQuillan (30) at her home on January 1, 2014. 

Three weeks ago at the Central Criminal Court, Ms Farrell pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr McQuillan.

Called to give evidence last week by defence counsel Mr Derek Kenneally SC, the mother of three told the jury that she was sexually abused by a named man from the age of seven and did not tell anyone about it until she was 14 years of age.

Ms Farrell also previously gave evidence that she took to drinking at 14 years of age to "block" out being sexually abused for seven years as a child.

Today consultant forensic psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital Dr Sally Linehan was called by the prosecution and she told the jury of seven women and five men that she met with the accused on June 8 and June 12 2015.

Prosecution counsel Mr Gerard Clarke SC put it to the witness that she had asked Ms Farrell about experiencing flashbacks of her sexual abuse as a child.

“I asked her if she experienced flashbacks of her sexual abuse and explained to her this meant as if an individual feels an event is occurring again. It was my impression she understood.

She responded by saying she did not have a flashback on that night," replied Dr Linehan.

The court heard Dr Linehan was of the view that Ms Farrell met the diagnosis of post traumatic stress but she also knew what she was doing on the night.

"Its my opinion that Paula Farrell knew the nature and quality of the act at the time of the offence.

And also that she knew what she doing was wrong. I'm not satisfied that Paula Farrell met the legal criteria of insanity at the time of the offence."

“In my opinion her mental disorder did not play a significant role but rather intoxication with alcohol.

I’m not satisfied her capacity to form intent was impaired at the time of the offence," added Dr Linehan.

Mr Kenneally then put it to Dr Linehan in cross examination if it was her opinion that intoxication with alcohol was the primary factor that influenced her behaviour at the time of the offence? "Yes that’s my thinking," replied Dr Linehan.

"Does your categorisation of alcohol being the primary factor mean her mental disorder played some part in what occurred?" asked Mr Kenneally.

"The overriding factor was the intoxication, she consumed 12 cans of Bulmers.

My belief is that it didn’t play a role," replied the doctor, The barrister then asked the doctor about the accused's capacity to form intent? "She formed the intention she wanted to hurt him which suggests to me she was capable of forming her actions and forming intent at that time," answered the witness.

The trial continues.