Bail overturned | 

Tyrone man accused of strangling elderly mum whom he cared for refused bail

Mr Justice McAlinden overturned a previous grant of bail to Barry Noone on a charge of murdering 77-year-old Margaret Una Noone at their home in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

Barry Noone and Una Noone

Alan ErwinBelfast Telegraph

A man who allegedly strangled his elderly mother to death while she was in his care must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

Mr Justice McAlinden overturned a previous grant of bail to Barry Noone on a charge of murdering 77-year-old Margaret Una Noone at their home in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

He backed an appeal by the Public Prosecution Service after being told examination of the defendant’s phone revealed internet searches for "matricide”.

“I have no hesitation in reversing the decision of the District Judge and remanding this person in custody because of the clear risk of harm to others,” Mr Justice McAlinden said.

Noone, 45, is accused of carrying out the killing and then attempting suicide last month.

Police discovered his mother’s body in her bed at the Ratheen Avenue property on June 19, with Rosary beads placed carefully in her hands.

Noone was located in another bedroom, apparently having taken up to 30 pills hours earlier.

Officers went to the address after he allegedly contacted the emergency services to say he had done something to his mother.

A friend in England also reported receiving a two-page suicide letter from the defendant which stated that he had killed his mother and taken an overdose.

When police arrived at the property the blinds were closed, with a notepad on a hall table containing the message: "Please don’t come in. Call the police. I’m so sorry. Barry."

Searches led to Noone being located under the sheets in a bed upstairs, under the influence of drink or drugs.

His elderly mother was discovered in another room, lying on her back in bed and displaying no sign of life.

Initial post mortem reports indicate she died from compression of the neck, the court heard.

When asked at the scene what happed to his mother Noone allegedly replied: “I murdered her.”

Further examination of the notepad revealed a letter allegedly signed by the defendant, setting out how he had been unable to take any more.

Noone, who lived in London for 20 years, described the traumatic experience of looking after his mother since returning in April, and then having to isolate in his bedroom since contracting Covid the previous week.

He fell into a deep depression and lost the will to live, but could not leave his mother to endure her struggles alone, the court heard.

Noone stated that “her crosses had become his crosses and he couldn’t carry them anymore”.

In a prepared statement provided later to police, Noone said: “I accept my actions caused the death of my mother.”

Prosecutors mounted an appeal after he was granted magistrates bail on Friday to live at a friend’s address in London.

Those arrangements involve staying with a man who is recovering from both major bowel surgery and long Covid, the court heard.

Claiming that Noone continues to pose a risk, Crown lawyer Fiona O’Kane said: “His phones show that he Googled ‘matricide’ and he Googled ‘how long it would take you to die if you slit your wrists’.”

She argued that Noone should have taken alternative steps to seek help if he was struggling to cope.

“This is a man who, in a very short time period, who came to this jurisdiction to assist his mother, within two and a half months has murdered his mother,” counsel submitted.

Defence barrister Fintan McAleer stressed that expert medical evidence does not suggest his client will inevitably self-harm.

Disputing concerns raised about the alleged internet searches for matricide, he added: “The risk that term posed is particular to one person who sadly is now deceased. It doesn’t increase the risk to anybody else.”

However, Mr Justice McAlinden emphasised that a consultant psychiatrist report does not support Noone’s case that he was suffering from mental illness at the time of the alleged murder.

He expressed surprise at the proposals for the defendant to live with a friend who has their own health issues.

Denying bail, the judge pointed out: “If Mr Noone is caring for him, providing some form of support and feels that it’s all too much or (he) is unable to cope with his condition, who knows what might happen."

*This story was updated on August 4.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos