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Murder accused said she ‘went back and stabbed dad three more times to make sure he was dead’

Christina Anderson told the psychologist she was hearing voices telling her to buy knives the week before the stabbing.

Fiona MagennisIndependent.ie

A woman told a psychologist of the moment she stabbed a father-of-seven to death, recounting how she saw him outside her home and believed he was there to kill her, a Central Criminal Court jury has heard.

The trial heard today that murder accused Christina Anderson, who later confirmed she realised she was delusional at the time, said she stabbed Gareth Kelly once before she went “back out and stabbed him three more times to make sure he was dead”.

Ms Anderson also told the psychologist: “It’s a tragedy. No one was trying to kill me, I was ill."

The murder trial also heard that following the incident, Ms Anderson told the psychologist she was hearing voices telling her to buy knives the week before the stabbing.

Dr Harry Wood, a consultant and forensic psychologist, told defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC he interviewed the accused following the killing. He said she told him: “I stabbed a man outside my house. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know his name and I’d never seen him before.”

Christina Anderson

The expert witness said that when he interviewed Ms Anderson, she told him that the week before the offences she was “really ill”, was hearing voices and was paranoid someone was going to stab her.

She told the doctor that the day before the offence she thought her children’s lives were in danger.

The accused gave the account during an interview conducted via video link from the Central Mental Hospital as part of an assessment carried out by Dr Wood, who was asked to prepare a report for the trial.

He said that in her account of what happened, Ms Anderson said the day before the stabbing she was “pretty hysterical” and later that day her mother came and took two of the children.

She told the consultant psychologist that later that night she thought there was a sniper in the house trying to kill her and she went to bed with a knife under her pillow. “I was so convinced someone was going to kill me,” she told him.

Ms Anderson said on the morning of February 25 she went to the attic and realised no one was there. She then locked herself in the bathroom and wrote “help me” in the plasterwork with a knife.

After she came out of the bathroom, the accused said she looked out the window. “I saw the man outside and I knew he was the killer. I believed he was there to kill me. I can’t remember if I said anything to him.”

The defendant said she stabbed the man once to begin with and then went back into the house.

“I went back out and stabbed him three more times to make sure he was dead,” she told Dr Wood. “I thought he was my killer.”

Ms Anderson said at the time she thought she would be famous for killing her killer.

The accused told the doctor she was arrested and brought to a women’s prison but “wasn’t thinking clearly” and was having “erratic thoughts”.

“She confirmed to you that she now realises she was delusional at the time?” Mr O’Higgins asked Dr Wood, to which he replied “yes” .

The witness said Ms Anderson then became upset before telling him: “It’s a tragedy. No one was trying to kill me, I was ill. It was just that his car had broken down.”

Ms Anderson (41), a mother-of-three of Brownsbarn Wood, Kingswood, Dublin, is charged with murdering Mr Kelly (39), who died from stab wounds following an incident at the estate on the morning of February 25, 2020. She has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Opening the case for the prosecution last week, Patrick McGrath SC said there is no disputing that Ms Anderson killed Mr Kelly. The issue will be her state of mind at the time.

On Friday, the trial heard evidence from the accused’s husband, Mark Anderson, who said the couple were smoking an average of €200 to €250 worth of cannabis per month in the lead-up to her stabbing Mr Kelly.

Defence counsel Michael O'Higgins SC has previously told the jury that an issue in the trial is whether Ms Anderson's actions when she stabbed Mr Kelly to death outside her home were driven by mental illness or cannabis intoxication.

Evidence was also heard today from Ms Anderson’s mother who said her daughter told her “Mum this has been the worst week of my life” the day before the stabbing.

Aulikki Mitchell told defence counsel Mr O’Higgins her daughter looked “forlorn” and “as if she’d been crying” when she went to visit her on the Monday.

The witness said she asked her daughter how she was and Ms Anderson said: “Mum this has been the worst week of my life” before telling her mother: “I will get better. Mum, I love you.”

Ms Mitchell said she texted her daughter on February 21, 2020, to invite her for dinner the following day because her husband Mark was away in Toronto. Ms Anderson replied: “Thanks but I’d rather not leave the house unguarded for too long. I’d be afraid I’d come back and it would be on fire”.

She told the jury her daughter had previously mentioned a criminal gang living in her estate and said she was afraid for her life and the lives of her children.

She said her daughter had become withdrawn in the weeks leading up to the morning of February 25, 2020, had started neglecting her appearance and was difficult to engage in conversation.

She said she went to her daughter’s house at around 10am on Saturday and when she arrived the accused “was in a terrible state” and “the house was a mess”.

The following morning, Ms Mitchell said she received an email at 5.40am from her daughter addressed to her and Mark headed “I love you”.

She said the email, which she didn’t see for some time after it was sent, was “full of ramblings” with accusations about neighbours, photographs and screenshots of newspaper articles online.

Ms Mitchell said she “got a fright” because it was “so strange to get a mail saying I love you”.

“I didn’t know what she was going to do,” she told the court, adding she rushed over immediately to her daughter’s house.

When she arrived, Ms Anderson “yanked the door open and pulled me in and said: ‘get in, your life is in danger. We are all in danger’,” Ms Mitchell said.

She said her daughter then went upstairs and barricaded herself and their German Shepard dog into the bedroom.

Ms Mitchell said the house was “in a terrible state, it was as if it had been thrashed”.

“Previous to this the house was neat as a pin?” Mr O’Higgins enquired to which the witness agreed, adding: “It was like a showhouse, beautiful.”

She said at this point she gave the children breakfast and sent Ms Anderson’s husband Mark a text saying: “I’m here, Christina has completely lost it.”

When he landed back in Ireland she said Mr Anderson called her and they discussed her daughter’s condition. He arrived home sometime later and she got a text from him that afternoon to say an appointment had been arranged for Tuesday afternoon at the Mary Mercer psychiatric clinic.

Ms Mitchell told Mr O’Higgins that she got a text from Mr Anderson on Monday saying Ms Anderson was still having delusions and believed Michael Jackson was going to turn up at the house.

She said they were unsure of what to do to and eventually Mr Anderson contacted Mary Mercer who agreed to bring the afternoon appointment forward to Tuesday morning as no appointments were available for Monday.

Ms Mitchell told the court her daughter had suffered post-natal depression following the birth of her third child in 2017.

She said Ms Anderson wouldn’t get out of bed, spent all day in her dressing gown and didn’t do any cooking.

She said following an incident late that year her daughter sought specialist care and was diagnosed as bipolar.

Ms Mitchell said after that she noticed an improvement in her daughter, he mood seemed to have lifted and there was an improvement in her appearance.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Ms Justice Karen O'Connor and a jury of seven men and five women.


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