Woman who killed daughter may face criminal charges

A MOTHER who stabbed her daughter to death may face criminal charges, an inquest was told yesterday.

Cork Coroner’s Court heard that charges are being considered against May Prendergast, who has been receiving specialist medical attention in a Cork psychiatric hospital since her daughter, Jessica Prendergast’s death last July.

Jessica Prendergast’s body was found in a pool of blood in the hall of the rented house on the Old Commons Road, in Blackpool, Cork, on July 27, 2006, after May Prendergast walked into a local taxi office carrying her one-year-old grandson Jamie Lee.

Gardaí are not seeking anyone else in connection with the death.

The inquest into the death was opened and adjourned yesterday. There were no family members in court.

The inquest heard that Jessica Prendergast, 21, died at her home on July 27.

Evidence from State pathologist Marie Cassidy, who carried out an autopsy on the body at Cork University Hospital (CUH), stated that stab wounds to the chest were the cause of death.

Garda James O’Shea, who is liaising with the Prendergast family, also gave evidence that Jessica Prendergast’s body was identified at CUH later by her uncle, Martin Hayes.

Inspector John Quilter told coroner Myra Cullinane that the incident was still under investigation and that criminal charges were being considered against Jessica Prendergast’s mother.

He applied, under section 25, sub-section one, of the Coroners Act, for an adjournment of the inquest while the matter is being decided.

He said an adjournment of at least six months was needed before a decision on the next step would be made. Dr Cullinane agreed to the request and adjourned the inquest for mention again on July 26.

Jessica Prendergast’s father, Willie Prendergast, addressed mourners at his daughter’s funeral Mass at St Oliver’s Church in Ballyvolane a few days after her death.

In an emotional speech, he said: “Jess was so good in nature and friendly. Jess forgave her mother and I know that she would want you to forgive her mother and pray for her.”

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