Paul Cuddihy, aged 38, a former resident of St Otteran’s Hospital in Waterford, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murder of Maria O’Brien, 55, at St Otteran’s on September 5, 2014.
The jury reached the same unanimous verdict on four charges that Mr Cuddihy assaulted fellow hospital resident Mary Nugent and nurses Breda Fennelly, Terry Hayes and Mary Grant, causing them harm.
Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy committed Mr Cuddihy to the Central Mental Hospital and ordered he return to court on November 14 when a doctor will outline a plan for his continued treatment.
Speaking outside the court after the verdicts, Ms O’Brien’s brother Joe O’Mahony and son Patrick Halley, flanked by her partner William Halley, described her as a “kind- hearted, fun-loving person”.
Patrick Halley said: “She will always be in our memories. She was just the most caring person you could ever meet. She’d do anything for anybody.”
In evidence, the jury heard that Mr Cuddihy lived with Maria O’Brien, Mary Nugent and four other people at a residential unit on the grounds of St Otteran’s.
On September 5, the alarm was raised by one of the residents, Sinead Barron, who called staff from her bedroom saying Mr Cuddihy was attacking someone.
Breda Fennelly and Mary Grant told the court that they arrived to find Mr Cuddihy in the kitchen standing over Mary Nugent with a knife in his hand. Both nurses were injured as Mr Cuddihy turned his attention on them.
It took five gardaí and members of St Otteran’s staff to subdue Mr Cuddihy.
Two forensic psychiatrists told the court that Mr Cuddihy was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia many years before this attack.