Acquitted of brother’s murder due to insanity

A man who strangled his brother to death with a bungee cord before hiding his body in a pit by the Cliffs of Moher has been found not guilty of his murder by reason of insanity.

Declan Ó Cualáin, aged 41, with an address at An Caorán Beag, An Cheathrú Rua, Co Galway, was charged with murdering Adrian Folan (Ó Cualáin) at Lislorkin North, Liscannor, Co Clare, on July 4, 2014.

On Monday at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Ó Cualáin pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Folan by reason of insanity.

Anthony Sammon, prosecuting, told the jury on Thursday that the accused had become “fixated with paedophilia” and held the baseless delusion that his brother was a person “afflicted with this difficulty and he may have sexually abused a sibling”.

Mr Sammon said the accused was in “an utterly delusional state of mind” at the time and the delusions were “not to be given any weight whatsoever”.

Two consultant forensic psychiatrists gave evidence yesterday that Mr Ó Cualáin should not be held responsible for his actions and he met the requirements for the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Both of them agreed that Mr Ó Cualáin had his lithium dosage of medication discontinued less than one month before he strangled his brother to death with a bungee cord.

Yesterday, after just 21 minutes’ deliberation, a jury of nine men and three women returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. After they had delivered their verdict, Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan told the jury they had a “difficult task over the last few days” as it was a “distressing case”.

The judge then exempted them from further jury service for 15 years.

Mr Sammon told the court that a recommendation had been made by Dr Ronan Mulranney that Mr Ó Cualáin be committed to the Central Mental Hospital and return to court in 14 days.

Ms Justice Heneghan then made an order committing Mr Ó Cualáin to go to the CMH yesterday and that he be brought back before the court on May 5.

The judge also directed the preparation of a psychiatric assessment report.

Ms Justice Heneghan then extended her sympathies to the family of Adrian Folan, saying: “I have noticed the distress they have all been under and all I can do is extend my sympathies.”


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