Teen’s sentencing for attempted Dún Laoghaire murder delayed

Boy (16) claimed to be older when he met woman online and then attacked her with knife

A view along the seafront at Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire where a teenager choked and attacked a woman with a knife. Image: Google Maps.

A view along the seafront at Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire where a teenager choked and attacked a woman with a knife. Image: Google Maps.

 

The sentencing of a teenager for attempted murder has been delayed as he has still not met the forensic psychiatrist appointed to provide a court-ordered report on him.

There had already been a delay in sentencing the 16-year-old, who tried to murder a woman he met on the internet, due to an issue with the report which will assess if he is likely to pose a risk to society in the future.

The Central Criminal Court had ordered that a consultant psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist prepare reports on the boy, who tried to commit the murder when he was just 15.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Stephanie Ng on December 23rd, 2017, at Sea Front, Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire.

He met the 25-year-old victim on the Whisper social media app, on which he had pretended to be 19. The boy tried to kill her during their first face-to-face meeting after suggesting they take a photograph by the water’s edge.

He then grabbed Ms Ng from behind and choked her to unconsciousness before slashing her neck with a knife. Gardaí later found a book of drawings in his bedroom, containing a sketch of someone being cut up with a knife. The words, ‘serial killer’, had been written on another page, the court heard.

Last breath

Ms Ng previously gave evidence of taking what she thought was her last breath, as the teenager tried to ‘choke the life’ out of her before leaving her for dead. She later felt that he was frustrated with himself for not having killed her.

Mr Justice Michael White then directed a professor from the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) to assign a consultant psychiatrist and clinical psychologist to prepare reports on the accused. He said the court’s concern was to assess the future risk the boy would be to society if and when released from prison.

However, the professor was not in a position to do so, due to an issue that had arisen and the prosecution then began searching for a consultant forensic psychiatrist in the UK. Paul Burns SC, prosecuting, later informed the judge that a doctor had been found in the UK.

“Dr Richard Church has been sourced and is prepared to do a report,” he said, adding that there was consent to him having access to the boy’s CMH records.

It was thought the report would be ready by the end of June. However, the judge was informed on Thursday that the expert had not yet met the boy.

Mr Justice White adjourned the case until July 31st, remanding the boy in custody until then.