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Resident at psychiatric hospital died after suffering more than 100 knife wounds, court hears

St Otteran's
St Otteran's

A 55-year-old resident at a psychiatric hospital died after suffering more than 100 knife wounds to her head and face, a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court heard today.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said the woman also suffered a broken nose and died from blood loss due to a knife wound to her jugular vein. She had defensive injuries on her hands.

Paul Cuddihy (38), a former resident of a psychiatric unit in St Otteran's Hospital in Waterford City, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder of Maria O'Brien (55), at St Otteran's on September 5, 2014.

Mr Cuddihy is also charged with assault causing harm to nurses Breda Fennelly, Mary Grant and Terry Hayes and fellow hospital resident Mary Nugent. He pleaded not  guilty by reason of insanity to all charges

Dr Curtis outlined the extent of the injuries to Ms O'Brien, saying that most of them were to the head and neck area. Her stomach, organs, lungs and heart were normal.

Her head, however, suffered multiple stab wounds with one penetrating to eight centimetres and wounding the jugular vein. She died from blood loss with blunt force trauma to the head as a contributing factor, he concluded.

Dr Curtis was shown a kitchen knife that was taken from Mr Cuddihy at the scene and he said this knife could have caused the injuries to Ms O'Brien.

The trial continues this afternoon in front of a jury of seven women and five men and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.