Man who blasted woman to death and tried to kill her daughter committed to Central Mental Hospital

The remains of Mary Dargan are carried from The Sacret Heart Church, Killinarden, Tallaght after her funeral mass
The remains of Mary Dargan are carried from The Sacret Heart Church, Killinarden, Tallaght after her funeral mass

A 60-year-old man who was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering a mother of six and attempting to murder her daughter has been committed to the Central Mental Hospital.

James Redmond (60) with an address at Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was charged with murdering Mary Dargan and attempting to murder Karina Dargan at their home in Killinarden Estate on March 15, 2014.

Mr Redmond pleaded not (guilty by reason of insanity to the two charges at the Central Criminal Court.

Yesterday after a period of four hours and five minutes deliberating, a jury of seven men and five women returned majority verdicts of not guilty on both counts.

Mr Justice Eagar then made an order committing Mr Redmond to go to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) and to be brought back before the court today.

Today defence counsel Mr Brendan Grehan SC called Dr Damian Mohan, a consultant forensic psychiatrist at the CMH, to give evidence.

Dr Mohan told the court he had prepared a report in relation to the accused Mr Redmond.

Dr Mohan said he was Mr Redmond’s treating doctor at the CMH and the accused was currently an inpatient there.

The court heard that Mr Redmond was transferred to the CMH on March 26, 2014 and he came under his care in late July of that year.

“On his admission Mr Redmond presented as extremely unwell with delusional and false fixed beliefs. He wrongly believed he was being persecuted by his neighbours and this was accompanied by auditory delusions. There was no basis in reality for these beliefs,” he said,

Dr Mohan said it was “most unusual” for somebody in their mid to late 50’s to develop “first episode psychosis.”

He said the accused was admitted to the CMH in a “very disturbed and agitated state” and he required treatment with anti-psychotic medication and antidepressants.

“Over the first few months his condition gradually improved. The delusional beliefs had responded to treatment but it was very obvious he experienced significant problems with recall and concentration,” he said.

In 2015 Mr Redmond was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease which has become “very progressive” in the last year.

Dr Mohan told the court that Mr Redmond moved from the acute phase of his illness to the rehabilitative phase in July 2014.

“Mr Redmond is working hard at getting himself better and he continues to take various medications to deal with his depression and psychosis,” he said.

The doctor said that there was still evidence of “despondency and despair” in relation to Mr Redmond’s condition.

“He no longer harbours any delusions in regards to his neighbours and is extremely remorseful for what he did. He now accepts he was very ill at the time. He acknowledges he needs ongoing treatment and medication,” said Dr Mohan.

Dr Mohan said that Mr Redmond continues to suffer from a medical disorder which is psychotic depression and so requires care and medical treatment.

“There would be a serious deterioration in his condition if he was not admitted to an approved centre. He is in need of ongoing treatment and needs to be in a secure hospital such that exists at the CMH,” said Dr Mohan.

Dr Mohan then recommended to the court that his patient be committed to the CMH and he confirmed that there was a bed available for him there today.

He also said Mr Redmond will be a patient at the CMH for “a considerable amount of time to come.”

Mr Justice Robert Eagar told the court he had heard the evidence from Dr Damian Mohan and was satisfied that he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Mr Justice Eagar then made an order committing Mr Redmond to the CMH for inpatient care.

During the trial prosecution counsel, Ms Pauline Walley SC, told the jury that both families were neighbours and had lived “peacefully and amicably side by side” in the Killinarden Estate for many years.

Mr Redmond had become depressed some months earlier and he wrongly believed Karina Dargan was “chanting” that he was a paedophile and it was being said about him in the community.

It was established during the trial that there was “no substance or truth” to these allegations nor any basis in reality for them.

On March 15 Mr Redmond left his home, jumped over the back wall with a shotgun and then shot Mary Dargan dead.

Her daughter Karina was also shot in the head but survived.

Two consultant forensic psychiatrists gave evidence that Mr Redmond was suffering from “severe depressive episodes with psychotic symptoms” and would have been unable to refrain from his actions.

They both said that he met the requirements for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.