Wife of man accused of murdering infant son says way husband treated is ‘beyond cruel’

Yusif Ali Abdi charged with killing child in Clane 18 years ago

The wife of a man whose conviction for murdering their infant son was quashed after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 10 years later has told a jury that the way her husband has been treated is “beyond cruel” and no one deserves to suffer in the way he has.

The Central Criminal Court trial also heard on Tuesday that a psychiatrist who gave evidence at the 2003 trial that the accused – who subsequently spent 16 years in jail – was not suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, now thinks that the man displayed early signs of the mental condition at the time.

Amanda Bailey was giving evidence on Tuesday in the trial of her husband, Yusif Ali Abdi (46), who is charged with murdering 20-month-old Nathan Baraka Andrew Ali at The Elms, College Road, Clane, Co Kildare on April 17th, 2001. Mr Abdi, with an address at Charleville Road, Phibsboro, Dublin 7, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Giving evidence, Ms Bailey told prosecuting counsel Seamus Clarke SC that she met Mr Abdi in a nightclub on George’s Street in May 1998. The witness said Mr Abdi gave her his mobile number on the night. She phoned him a week later and they began a relationship that summer.

Ms Bailey testified she was aware that Mr Abdi was an asylum seeker and his father had been murdered in the civil war in Somalia. She described him as a “quiet fellow” as well as a caring and sensitive partner. She agreed with Mr Clarke that her husband had attended a psychiatrist in the Mater hospital before she met him. Ms Bailey said she realised in January 1999 that she was pregnant and they got married in May of that year in order to give Mr Abdi legal status in Ireland so he would not be deported. She agreed with Mr Clarke that she was very much in love with her husband and Nathan was born on August 30th,1999.

The witness further agreed with counsel that Mr Abdi was later arrested following an incident with gardaí. Ms Bailey said she felt this event caused her partner to change, bringing back the fear he had once felt in Somalia. Ms Bailey said her husband was not the same following a visit to Africa to find his family and depression set in on his return.

“Everything was negative, everything against him . . . he accused me of making phone calls to people saying bad things about him,” she said. Ms Bailey added that she had told her partner he needed help from a doctor, but he would not listen to her.

In January 2001, Ms Bailey said her husband began accusing her of phoning the Department of Justice to say bad things about him.

“I think he thought I wanted him deported. He had it in his head he was going to be deported,” she continued, adding that she did not know where he got this idea from.

The witness said she began to lose her patience with her husband as he was acting out of character in comparison to the gentle and kind person she had first met. “I could have gone out with anyone. He had such a nice and kind soul, that was what I loved about him,” she said.

Ms Bailey agreed with Mr Clarke that Mr Abdi and herself had an argument concerning their son on one occasion and the accused had thrown a phone at her, which cut her lip. The witness said she told her husband that she would not return to their home until he got help from a psychiatrist or a doctor. But the witness said Mr Abdi told her that he did not feel he had any mental health issues.

On the night of the killing, Ms Bailey said her husband came into the bedroom and carried the toddler out of the room. “I just presumed he wanted Nathan to sleep as he had woken up,” she said.

When she was in the toilet she heard some bangs but had no idea what the noise was. The witness said the living room door was locked so she used a highchair to stand up and look through the glass and saw her husband praying. “When I looked in I could see Nathan’s arm, I had no reason to believe he would have hurt him,” she added.

Ms Bailey said she then heard her partner on the phone and knew something was wrong. When she got into the room, she wrapped Nathan in a blanket and rang an ambulance as she did not think her husband’s tone on the previous call to emergency services had sounded urgent enough.

Ms Bailey agreed with Mr Clarke that her son was pale, he had blood in his nose and his body was completely limp when she found him. She failed to find a pulse or heart beat.

Adored Nathan

In cross-examination, Ms Bailey agreed with defence counsel Barry White SC that her memory was far superior at her husband’s trial in 2003. “How he has been treated is beyond cruel and no one deserves to suffer in the way he has,” she said. The witness said her husband had been present when she gave birth to their son and he adored Nathan.

She agreed with Mr White that Mr Abdi would become paranoid if he saw gardaí on the street and thought their phone was bugged by the Department of Justice. He also thought there were cameras or listening devices in the smoke alarm, she said.

Mr White put it to the witness that Mr Abdi had accused her of trying to poison him.

“He accused me of so many things that were irrational,” she replied. She agreed with Mr White that Mr Abdi did not want Nathan dressed in red clothes as he said it was the colour of the devil.

Mr White told Ms Bailey that Dr Damian Mohan, a consultant psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, had given evidence at the previous trial. Counsel asked the witness whether Dr Mohan had made any contact with her as to how matters had developed or progressed regarding her husband.

“I never saw him but in court,” she replied.

In his opening address this morning, Mr Clarke said Mr Abdi was convicted of murdering his son by a 10 to two majority verdict in May 2003.

Dr Damian Mohan, a consultant psychiatrist at the Central Mental Hospital, had given evidence on behalf of the prosecution at Mr Abdi’s trial and was did not believe he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, said Mr Clarke.

In February 2019, his appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal and a retrial was ordered on the basis of newly discovered facts, said Mr Clarke. He said these facts were that when Mr Abdi was imprisoned for this offence in 2001 he was later brought to the Central Mental Hospital on several occasions, where in 2013 he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

“In the meantime, Dr Mohan has looked at the case and is of the view that Mr Abdi had early signs of paranoid schizophrenia in 2001,” said Mr Clarke, adding that the jury will hear evidence that the accused was legally insane in 2001.

The trial resumes on Wednesday before Mr Justice Alexander Owens and a jury. It is expected to last up to five days.