A horror story born out of dysfunction

Sat, May 9, 2009, 01:00

WHEN LINDA and Charlotte Mulhall murdered their mother's boyfriend, Farah Swaleh Noor, they set in motion a chain of events that was to horrify the country and destroy their already dysfunctional family.

The pair fatally attacked Noor - a 38-year-old Kenyan immigrant - at their mother's house at Richmond Cottages off Dublin's North Strand on March 20th, 2005.

Evidence at the sisters' trial suggested they were on a vodka and ecstasy binge with Noor and their mother, Kathleen, when Noor made an aggressive pass at Linda.

When he ignored warnings to leave her alone, Charlotte picked up a Stanley blade and cut his throat. Noor, who had a wife and two children in Kenya, staggered into a downstairs bedroom.

Charlotte stabbed him up to 20 times with a kitchen knife while Linda admitted hitting him "a good few times" in the head with a claw hammer.

Both then spent hours sawing up his body in the bathroom, packing most of the parts into black plastic bags.

They then dumped his limbs and torso in the nearby Royal Canal before taking his head on the bus to Tallaght where it was hidden in a park, before being disposed of in another location. To this day the head and penis of the victim have never been found.

Linda claimed it was Charlotte's idea to dismember the body, but Charlotte, who initially denied her involvement in the murder, said her mother, Kathleen, had told the sisters to kill him and gave them the knife and hammer. It was claimed she then ordered them to cut up the body.

Noor's arms and legs were spotted floating in the Royal Canal 10 days after his brutal murder. His body was retrieved by the Garda Sub Aqua Unit in seven different parts after a passerby saw his leg, with a sock on the end, sticking out of the water.

Charlotte, a 26-year-old mother of one, told gardaí: "Me mammy said, 'Just cut him up'. I just remember cutting . . . I cut him up with the knife."

Linda, a 34-year-old mother of four, told gardaí: "Charlotte started sawing his legs with the knife. The smell wouldn't go away. I think about it every night."

Mr Justice Paul Carney said: "This is the most grotesque case of killing that has occurred within my professional lifetime."

Charlotte is currently serving a life sentence for murder. An appeal against the conviction failed. Her son was just five months old when she was jailed for life in October 2006.

Linda is serving 15 years for manslaughter, but has begun efforts to appeal the severity of the sentence.

Both sisters have a history of drink and drug abuse. Charlotte has a conviction for prostitution. Linda had been beaten by her former partner. The same man was jailed for cruelty to Linda's children.

Their mother Kathleen Mulhall, a 53-year-old mother of six, has now been jailed for five years for cleaning up the murder scene.

Her trial had been delayed until now because she fled to England after the murder.

The court heard that she had been in a relationship with Noor since 2002, that the relationship was "abusive" and that Mulhall had "suffered a lot".

Evidence was also presented that she had been abused by both of her parents and later by her husband, John Mulhall.

John Mulhall took his own life in December 2005 after full details of the case emerged.

After the jailing of the Mulhall sisters, their brother James Mulhall (35), was sent to prison for robbing two shops at knifepoint.

He claimed in court he needed the money to feed his own children and those of his jailed sister, Linda.

He already had convictions for robbing prostitutes.