Murder accused suffering with mental disorder when he killed wife, court told

Jury in trial of Diego Costa Silva hears defendant arrested for own safety on day before fatal incident but ‘unfortunately’ released from hospital that evening

A man who was suffering from a mental disorder decapitated his wife after attacking her with knives in their Dublin apartment, a barrister has told a jury at the Central Criminal Court.

Shane Costelloe SC, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the jury will hear that Diego Costa Silva, a native of Brazil, called emergency services and told them he “thought he had killed his wife”.

He said that when gardaí arrived they found Fabiola Camara De Campos Silva with her head “clearly separated from her torso”.

Counsel said the issue for the jury to consider will be whether Mr Costa Silva was suffering from a mental disorder that led to certain consequences for him.


He said the jury of seven men and five women will hear from two forensic consultant psychiatrists called by the defence and prosecution who agree on Mr Silva’s state of mind at the time of the killing.

Counsel also told the jury that the day before Mr Silva attacked his wife, he was arrested for his own safety after being seen jogging on the street “practically naked” in early November. Mr Costelloe said the accused was brought to hospital but “unfortunately he was released that evening”.

Mr Costa Silva (35) has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms De Campos Silva (33) on November 4th, 2021 at Charlestown Place, Finglas.

Before the trial began, the jury was told the issue that will most concern them is what is referred to as the “special verdict in respect of insanity”.

Opening the trial, Mr Costelloe told the jury the prosecution alleges that in the early hours of the morning Mr Costa Silva “struck his wife with knives and then severed her head from her body with one of those knives”.

He said Mr Costa Silva called emergency services, gave his address and said he thought he had injured his wife. Armed gardaí went to the apartment and were met by the accused wearing only shorts and flip-flops.

When they entered, gardaí will say that they found Ms De Campos Silva lying prone in a doorway between the bedroom and hall, partially clothed and with a knife protruding from her breast.

Defence barrister Garnet Orange SC made 15 admissions on behalf of his client, including that Ms De Campos Silva died as a result of injuries caused to her by the accused at their home. Mr Orange said that in due course he will be asking the jury to return a special verdict under the Criminal Law Insanity Act 2006.

Niall Murray of Dublin Fire Brigade was the first witness called. He told Mr Costelloe that he received the 999 call from Mr Costa Silva at about 6.15am on November 4th, 2021.

He said Mr Costa Silva had a “very calm demeanour” and told him that “he thinks he killed his wife” and later said he had killed her. The emergency call was played for the jury and Mr Murray agreed with Mr Orange that at the start of the call, Mr Costa Silva could be heard saying: “I have fight with my wife, she tried to kill me.”

Garda Peter Kilgallen told Mr Costelloe that he arrived at the apartment within minutes of receiving an emergency call. Members of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) were already there and he stood behind one of them as he knocked on the door.

He said Mr Costa Silva, who was wearing just shorts and flip-flops, answered and had blood on his body and wrists and told gardaí “I think I killed my wife”.

Garda Kilgallen arrested Mr Costa Silva on suspicion of murder and handcuffed him. He entered the apartment and saw a woman’s body on the floor between the doorway of one room and the hall.

He said he left the apartment and Mr Costa Silva told him his wife had “tried to kill me”. The accused later added: “She took my heart, she took my head. I did that because she was cheating on me.”

Mr Costelloe read out parts of a report from State Pathologist Dr Heidi Okkers, who wrote that the cause of death as “decapitation” with blunt force trauma and asphyxia as contributing factors. She noted other stab wounds and some bruises which could have been defensive in nature.

The trial continues before Mr Justice MacGrath and the jury.