Man accused of murdering mother because he could no longer ‘carry the cross’ refused permission to attend funeral

Forty-five-year-old denied compassionate bail due to ‘volatile’ mental state

A man who allegedly murdered his elderly mother because he could no longer “carry the cross” of caring for her and then tried to kill himself cannot be safely released from custody for her funeral, a Northern Ireland High Court judge ruled on Thursday.

Lord Justice Maguire rejected Barry Noone’s appeal against being refused compassionate bail after hearing he attempted to take his own life at the home in Cookstown, Co Tyrone he shared with 77-year-old Margaret Una Noone.

Citing concerns about the 45-year-old accused’s “volatile” mental state, he said: “It need only be emphasised that the applicant failed in his bid to take his own life in the hours immediately after his mother’s death.

“It is for this principal reason that I feel obliged to refuse the application for compassionate bail.”

Police discovered Mrs Noone’s body in her bed at the Ratheen Avenue property last Sunday morning, with rosary beads apparently placed carefully in her hands.

When officers arrived at the property, the blinds were closed, but on entering through the unlocked front door they found a notepad propped up on a hall table.

A message written on it said: “Please don’t come in. Call the police. I’m so sorry. Barry.”

Searches led to Mr Noone being located under the sheets in a bed upstairs, apparently under the influence of drink or drugs.

His elderly mother was discovered in another room, lying on her back in bed and displaying no sign of life, the court heard.

Further examination of the notepad revealed a letter allegedly signed by the defendant, setting out how he had been unable to take any more.

Mr Noone described the traumatic experience of looking after his mother, and then having to isolate in his bedroom since contracting Covid on June 12th.

He had fallen back into a deep depression and lost the will to live, the court was told.

He stated that his mother had been on long-term psychiatric medication, but he could not keep going or leave her to endure her struggles alone.

“Her crosses had become his crosses and he couldn’t carry them anymore,” Ms Minford said.

In a prepared statement provided later to police, Mr Noone said: “I accept my actions caused the death of my mother.”

He described how they had a close, loving relationship, but that both had suffered mental health issues.

Opposing the accused’s compassionate bail application, the prosecutor cited concerns around his own suicidal thoughts and the potential reaction of the family at the funeral.

Fintan McAleer, defending, told the court Mr Noone had cared for his mother during treatment for cancer and insisted he could be safely released for a temporary period where he would be chaperoned by an uncle and a deacon from the prison.

With no prospect of police or prison guards accompanying Mr Noone, the judge said: “One is therefore left with the proposition that the good of others around him would be sufficient to provide the court with confidence that he would not himself commit damage upon himself were he to be released in the context of his current mental condition.”