Murder accused told cousin he stabbed woman

Man with schizophrenia claimed victim had put black widow spiders in his house

 Murder trial   told   accused had been ‘hanging’ around dead woman’s workplace and ‘freaking her out’ weeks before he stabbed her to death. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Murder trial told accused had been ‘hanging’ around dead woman’s workplace and ‘freaking her out’ weeks before he stabbed her to death. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times


A 29-year-old man told his cousin he stabbed a Kilkenny woman to death because she had stolen a “vial of his blood”, “installed hidden cameras” and put “black widow spiders” in his house, a jury has heard.

Shane Smyth (29) with an address at McGuinness House, Evans Lane, Kilkenny is charged with murdering Mairead Moran (26) on May 8th, 2014 at the Market Cross Shopping Centre in Kilkenny City.

Mr Smyth has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Moran by reason of insanity.

The jury has been told that the facts of the case are not disputed and that two consultant psychiatrists prepared reports indicating that Mr Smyth was suffering from a form of psychosis at the time.

Prosecution counsel John O’Kelly SC called Kevin Dollard to give evidence on Wednesday and he told the Central Criminal Court that on the morning of May 8th, 2014 he met the accused “purely by chance” in McDonalds restaurant in Kilkenny. The court heard Mr Smyth told him he had “microchips in his body” and was “being forced into a gang war.”

Ellen Cruise, another witness who bumped into the accused the same morning, said he told her “people were stealing things from him” and he appeared “agitated” which made her feel “uncomfortable.” Mr Smyth told her his tattoos “did things” and “caused problems.” Ms Cruise was not aware Shane Smyth had schizophrenia.

Ken O’Reilly who looked after the management of McGuinness House on Evans Lane in Kilkenny where the accused lived also gave evidence. He called to Mr Smyth’s house at 7.10pm on May 8th and noticed Mr Smyth “did not look right as his eyes were unusually wide open.”

“He told me he was bitten by spiders on his face. I didn’t see any marks on his face,” he said.

Rosemary Grogan, the cousin of the defendant, gave evidence she was at home in Hazel Grove, Loughboy in Kilkenny on May 8th, 2014 with her partner and her son when she heard a knock on the door at 8.30pm. Her cousin Shane Smyth was at the door and he had a “wild look in his eyes and was pulling at his hair.”

He said he had done something “spastic” down the town and told her he had stabbed his ex girlfriend in her head and back.

“Shane is a paranoid schzohrenic and I didn’t know if what he was saying was true or if it was all in his head. I was in shock, he had no blood on him or anything,” she said.

Mr Smyth told her his ex girlfriend Mairead Moran had stolen a vial of his blood from his house, put black widow spiders in his house which he had been bitten by and had been left paralysed.

“He said he went down to Market Cross Shopping Centre to find out why she was doing all these things to him,” she said.

Ms Grogan said she rang Shane’s brother Neil Smyth at 9.10pm and left a voicemail to say Shane “was after going mad.”

She asked Neil Smyth to ring the gardai to see if there was any truth in what the accused had told her.

Ms Grogan told the court Shane then took off a “large leather bracelet” from his left forearm and under this was “the pouch” which he had the knife in used to stab Mairead Moran.

The court heard that gardai came to Ms Grogan’s house around 9pm and arrested her cousin.

A statement from the brother of the accused Neil Smyth was read to the court. Mr Smyth said Shane was the youngest child and a “clinical schizophrenic” who was committed to St Canice’s Hospital eight or nine years ago.

The court heard Shane Smyth tried to push his mother down the stairs in the past, used to light fires in his bedroom, spoke about witch magic, wrote a poem about death and pinned it to a door with a knife.

Mr O’Kelly read that the accused had been mentally sick for ten years and had “cut his ties with his family” as he thought they were trying to get him committed.

Mr Smyth recalled one incident when his brother Shane had punched his father in the nose.

Sgt Mark Carley of Waterford garda station was present when Shane Smyth was arrested on suspicion of murder at his cousins house at 10.05pm that night.

Upon arrest the court heard Shane Smyth said: “I stabbed her, she tried to steal my blood.”

Detective Sgt Colin Furlong from Kilkenny garda station said when Mr Smyth was in custody he requested a blood sample to be taken from him. The court heard that “nothing was detected” in the blood sample which was later sent to the forensic science lab and this included screenings for ethanol and prescribed drugs.

Earlier the court heard Ms Moran had told security staff at the shopping centre where she worked that the accused was “hanging” around her workplace and “freaking her out” weeks before he stabbed her to death. She told a security guard she had dated him seven years ago.

The trial continues.