Boy (15) who attempted to murder woman in Dún Laoghaire watched extreme porn, court told

Boy later said he was remorseful and called attack ‘cruel, demonic and evil’

A view along the seafront at Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire. Image: Google Maps

A view along the seafront at Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire. Image: Google Maps

 

A 15-year-old boy who attempted to murder a young woman in Dún Laoghaire after meeting her online was watching extreme pornography and accessing the dark web, a sentencing hearing has heard.

The boy, who is now 16, met his victim Stephanie Ng, then aged 25, on the Whisper social media app, where he had pretended to be 19. He tried to kill her during their first face-to-face meeting two days before Christmas, after suggesting they take a selfie by the water’s edge.

He grabbed her from behind and choked her to unconsciousness before slashing her neck with a knife.

When she came around, she was lying on the ground near the water’s edge, her hand was bleeding and there was blood around her head. Her clothes had been cut. Ms Ng was taken to hospital and treated for a 10cm-deep neck laceration, which penetrated her trachea.

On Wednesday the Central Criminal Court heard from forensic psychiatric Dr Richard Church who examined the boy on behalf of the court. Dr Church was brought over from the UK due to a lack of forensic child psychiatrists in Ireland.

The doctor said the boy told him he wanted to attack a person or a squirrel “but no squirrel came.”

He said he felt he had to attack the woman or the intrusive thoughts he was having wouldn’t stop.

The boy is an ongoing risk to himself and others and this risk is possibly “life threatening”, the doctor said. This risk is highest when periods of elevated stress are combined with an opportunity to plan and carry out an attack.

The boy suffers from several serious mental health issues, including hallucinations, depression and violent tendencies, Dr Church said. He is at risk of developing psychosis and is likely to develop a personality disorder, he added.

In the months before the offence the boy was experiencing violent, intrusive thoughts and was being monitored 24 hours a day by his parents on the advice of doctors.

Cruel, demonic and evil

The court heard the boy and his parents believed Prozac, the anti-depressant medication he was prescribed, may have played a role in the attack.

However Dr Church said “it is not clear what effect, if any, [PROZAC]had on the offence”.

The boy told Dr Church he had been watching pornography online since he was aged 11 or 12 and that his viewing increased as he got older.

He watched pornography on a website called Pornhub. com and also accessed the “dark web” using the Tor browser. He told the doctor the dark web “was very illegal and messed up”.

Asked if he watched violent pornography he replied, “maybe force but not violent. Never blood or choking”.

Asked about the offence, the boy said at first he was not happy Ms Ng had survived “because it meant there was more evidence against me”.

He said he was later happy she lived “because it meant I was not a murderer”.

The boy said he was very remorseful and called the attack “cruel, demonic and evil”.

Dr Church said he detected several traits suggestive of a personality disorder including eccentricity and fantasies of power, control and violence.

He said the boy had failed to fully accept responsibility for the offence and was pleasant but superficial in his manner while being interviewed.

“He spoke clearly and deliberately but with a rehearsed quality.”

The teenager, who is from south county Dublin, had pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Ms Ng on December 23rd, 2017 at the seafront, Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire.

The sentencing process will continue on October 7th, next with further defence evidence before Mr Justice Michael White.