Man pleads not guilty to parents’ murder by reason of insanity

Julian Cuddihy charged killing couple at their family home in Co Donegal in 2014

 Kathleen (73) and James Cuddihy (77): found murdered at their home in Carndonagh, Co Donegal.

Kathleen (73) and James Cuddihy (77): found murdered at their home in Carndonagh, Co Donegal.


A man with paranoid schizophrenia who believed he was sending his parents to heaven when he attacked and killed them has pleaded not guilty to murder by reason of insanity.

Julian Cuddihy is charged with two counts of murdering his mother Kathleen Cuddihy (73), and his father James Cuddihy (77), at their family home in Churchtown, Carndonagh, Co Donegal on October 22nd, 2014.

At the Central Criminal Court on Tuesday, the 44-year-old pleaded not guilty to both counts by reason of insanity.

Counsel for the defence Brendan Grehan SC said his client admits killing his parents and accepts the facts to be outlined by gardaí.

Prosecution counsel Denis Vaughan Buckley SC then told the jury that they would hear from two psychiatrists who would both say that Mr Cuddihy was suffering from delusions at the time of the killing.

Outlining the evidence that will be given by consultant psychiatrist Dr Damian Mohan on behalf of the defence, Mr Vaughan Buckley said that the accused suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and believed his mother was telling him to kill her.

He said he also had a grudge against his mother because she did not support his wish to join the IRA, a wish that was inspired by his delusions of persecution.

Voices in his head

Mr Vaughan Buckley said consultant psychiatrist Dr Fiona Toal would also give evidence that the accused thought he was “facilitating them to enter heaven” and that he heard his mother’s voice in his head commanding him to do what he did.

“He felt compelled to do what the voices told him,” said Mr Vaughan Buckley, adding that both doctors concluded that his mental illness meant he could not stop himself from carrying out the killing.

In a brief opening to the trial, Mr Vaughan Buckley summarised the evidence that will be given by Det Garda Bernard Mullins, who responded to a 999 call by the accused’s brother James Cuddihy Jnr on the morning after the killing.

Mr Cuddihy had arrived at the family home at about 9am on October 23rd to find his mother and father dead.

When Garda Mullins arrived, about 20 minutes later, he saw Mrs Cuddihy lying on the ground near the door with a hole in the back of her head. Further inside he discovered the body of James Cuddihy Snr in a pool of blood. Nearby lay an axe and a pair of scissors.

The jury also heard that State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy concluded that both deceased had suffered multiple wounds and died from head trauma.

The trial continues in front of Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury of seven women and five men.