Man jailed for 2010 Athy murder
McDonald initially lied to gardaí that he did not bring a knife to the house as he thought the gardai would think he went with the intention of stabbing someone. He said he had been carrying a knife around with him for a while after he claimed he was attacked in Dublin with Stanley knives several months prior to the stabbings.
McDonald told gardaí he“lost the plot” and it was not his intention to kill anyone. He said he felt betrayed that Ms Cummins had taken Mr Lawlor’s side in the row.
He told gardaí Ms Cummins would wind him up with phone calls, screaming ‘Rescue me, rescue me,’. “I think it was a game to her,” he said.
McDonald initially told gardaí he had thought he had only stabbed Ms Cummins in the arm and had not intended to kill her but described the stabbing as a “frenzy stabbing, striking her in the heart.”
“I didn’t mean to kill that girl. I liked her. I have killed the girl and I f*cked up my life now,” he admitted to gardai.
Evidence was also given in the trial that McDonald went to Martin Byrne’s house shortly afterwards and admitted the stabbings, blessed himself in front of a picture of the Sacred Heart and said a prayer, asking God for forgiveness.
Mr Byrne told the jury he did not believe McDonald had stabbed anyone because there was no blood on his clothes and he “seemed ok.”
McDonald had left the kitchen knife stuck in the ground of another friend, Ms Martina Hickey’s garden after he left the house at Michael Dooley Terrace.
Clinical psychiatrist Dr Alan Byrne gave evidence that he had examined McDonald on a number of occasions when he admitted himself to the psychiatric unit at Naas General Hospital between 1998 and 2006 where he reported psychotic symptoms in the 51-year-old.
Dr Byrne said psychotic symptoms, which Mr McDonald had displayed at times when he examined him, such as believing he had magical powers to prevent the American and British armies invading Iraq and that the Devil had left messages on his voice mail to kill himself, are extremely rare in alcoholics and that McDonald had a mental illness.
Defence counsel Mr Feargal Kavanagh, SC, with instructing solicitor Sean Brown, in his closing speech, described the case as a “tragic case” as McDonald had been allowed to “fall through the cracks” of the health service system despite his numerous cries for help over the years.
“He was never involuntarily committed when he went for help and discharged himself several times and didn’t get the treatment he required,” said Mr Kavanagh.
Ms Justice O’Malley thanked the jury for their care and attention in what she said was “a sad case to listen to” and excused them from jury duty for seven years.