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Vicious killing Mum-of-two who stabbed ex-husband 28 times is convicted of murder

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Rita O'Driscoll of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork

Rita O'Driscoll of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork

John Delea

Rita O'Driscoll of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork

A mother of two was convicted of the murder of her former husband after she stabbed him 28 times in a row at her brother-in-law's home.

Rita O'Driscoll (48) was convicted of the murder of Timothy 'Timmy' Foley (44) following a two-week Central Criminal Court trial in Cork.

The jury of five men and seven women, sitting before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, took over six hours to deliver their unanimous verdict having commenced their deliberations on Friday.

The 48 year old of Bridge Street, Bandon, Co Cork faces a mandatory life sentence.

The defendant had insisted she acted entirely in self-defence at Dan Corkery Place, Macroom, Co Cork on October 8 2018.

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 Rita O'Driscoll

Rita O'Driscoll

John Delea

Rita O'Driscoll

However, her brother-in-law, Jason Foley, told the trial he saw Timmy's ex-wife standing over his brother with a blood-covered knife as Timmy gasped: 'She has me goosed.'

She had also denied assault causing harm to her brother-in-law.

The mother of two was found not guilty on that charge by the jury.

Jason Foley, who has an acquired brain injury, was also injured at the scene.

Mr Foley said he lived at Dan Corkery Place in Macroom.

His brother, Timmy, would stay with him occasionally and was staying with him when, on October 7 2018, Rita O'Driscoll arrived at the house.

She had brought some alcohol and the group later had some food together.

Ms O'Driscoll had been discharged from the psychiatric ward of a Cork hospital several days before.

Jason Foley said he became concerned over the noise Rita O'Driscoll was making as one of his neighbours was quite elderly.

His brother, Timmy, said there was "no problem" about him asking his former wife to reduce the noise levels.

However, Jason Foley said he then became aware of an argument between his brother and the defendant.

“Rita was arguing with Timmy and she started pucking him in the stomach. I said: 'This is my house, what are you doing?' Then my brother said: ‘Jason, I’m goosed' and he started roaring. He said:

'She caught me there’ and I saw blood. I said I will call an ambulance”.

Jason Foley said he initially didn't see what his brother had been struck with.

“I went to the toilet and I heard my brother roaring. Rita was standing over Timmy, pucking him in the stomach and his stomach was bleeding. He stood up and there was blood on his hand."

“She has a bloody knife (in her hand). It was full of blood. Her fist was full of blood.”

Jason Foley's home was equipped with a panic button and he triggered the alarm.

Both Gardai and paramedics raced to the scene.

The deceased's niece told the trial the defendant had made threats against her uncle.

"(She) threatened to kill him — ‘I am going to come down and kill you’, ‘I am going to pour petrol over you and set you on fire.' I just thought it was general Rita and that she wasn't going to follow up with the threats," she said.

Siobhan Lankford SC, for the State, said the relationship between Rita O'Driscoll and Timmy Foley was something the jury would have to consider.

The jury was told that, on October 5, the defendant had been discharged from the psychiatric unit of Cork University Hospital (CUH) where she had been treated since September 21.

When discharged, she was said to be coherent, calm and relaxed with no thoughts of self harm.

She travelled to Macroom on October 7 and went to the property where her former husband and brother in law were living.

Gardai attended the Macroom address at 1.40am the following day.

On arrival, Gardai found the defendant standing outside the property with blood clearly visible on her.

Rita O'Driscoll said she had been attacked and was treated for stab wounds on her left arm. A cut was also visible on her face.

Jason Foley was treated for stab wounds to his neck and torso with damage to his lungs and kidney.

Timmy Foley was found inside the house covered in blood and in a serious condition with difficulty breathing.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they treated him and attempted to resuscitate him. However, he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem examination revealed Timmy Foley had sustained a total of 28 stab wounds including injuries to his head, face, ears, thorax, abdomen and right leg.

"Some of the injuries were defensive type wounds," Ms Lankford said.

The post mortem found that four of those wounds were potentially fatal. His lung and liver were injured while his carotid artery was cut.

Rita O’Driscoll insisted she acted in self-defence and suffered from "battered wife syndrome."

In a statement to Gardaí she said: “He (Timmy) was evil and satanic.

"He had a black-handled steak knife. He drove it into my head, the side of my head. I put my hand up to save my head. He cut my hand with it.

"I caught the knife and stabbed him once or twice. He is capable of murder. He is capable of killing. I was afraid for my life."

“Last thing I saw him lying in a pool of blood on the floor."

“I suffered battered wife syndrome. I was trying to protect myself when I stabbed him twice…I did not kill Timmy. I am not a murderer. I am a very good person with a good heart. All I did my whole life was help people.”

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