Psychiatric patient jailed for stabbing busker

A psychiatric patient who stabbed a Temple Bar busker because voices told him the man was going to kill someone has been given a four-year sentence by Judge Desmond Hogan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Stuart Murphy (aged 31), who is being held in the Central Mental Hospital, claimed he spoke with the victim before stabbing him but witnesses said this was unrtue and "the voices" were a figment of his imagination.

Murphy, of Kilmahuddrick Lawn, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to the busker in Temple Bar on August 31, 2006.

Murphy was given a three year sentence in May 2004 for thrusting a knife into a Somalian's mouth after insulting him racially at a late night pub.

Judge Desmond Hogan described it as "an unwarrented and unprovoked attack" and he was faced with a "paradox" because in imposing sentence he would usually leave "light at the end of the tunnel" but in this case "the light" for Murphy would be remaining where he receives treatment for his mental health issues.

Judge Hogan imposed a four-year sentence which he backdated to August 2006 to reflect time in custody.

Garda Sheila White told Ms Caroline Biggs BL, prosecuting, that the case had been delayed coming to court because Murphy had initially been declared unfit to be tried but following treatment his psychiatrist reviewed the situation and he was declared fit earlier this year.

Gda White said witnesses saw Murphy and a tall black man in a struggle and then saw Murphy stab him. Murphy who had a large knife in his hand was restrained by passers-by and an ambulance was called for the busker who was covered in blood

Murphy had not taken his anti-psychotic medication that day and told gardaí he had believed the busker was going to kill someone.

Gda White said the busker was treated in hospital for a shallow stab wound to his ribcage and hasdsince left the country but as far as she knows he had made a full recovery. Murphy had six previous convictions and had been homeless for some time.

Ms Mary Ellen Ring SC, defending Murphy, said he had a psychiatric history and had spent significant periods of time in the Central Mental Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

Ms Ring said Murphy's family resided in Dublin but he had an "unsettled history", living in hostels and travelling around the country. He also had a history of using illegal drugs.

Murphy was jailed for three years in May 2004 by Judge Michael White at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for assault causing harm and brandishing a knife on September 19, 2002, as well as stealing a car and driving it dangerously on January 15, 2003.


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