A MAN who shot his mother in the back because he believed she was poisoning him was found guilty but insane of her murder by a unanimous jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.
Mr Justice Flood remanded Nigel Bainbridge (29) in custody to the Central Mental Hospital at the pleasure of the Government. Bainbridge has been in the Central Mental Hospital since shortly after he shot his mother, Ms Patricia Bainbridge (61), at their home at The Rectory, near Mountrath, Co Laois, on May 6th, 1996.
The two-day trial heard the shooting happened just weeks after Bainbridge's parents turned down a doctor's recommendation that their son should be committed, against his will, to a psychiatric institution.
Bainbridge had denied murdering his mother and his counsel yesterday urged a verdict of guilty but insane. Mr Brendan Grogan SC said his client was seriously ill before the killing, was seriously ill at the time and was still ill.
It was tragic that, just a week earlier, Dr John Lyons had recommended that Mr Bainbridge be committed to a psychiatric hospital, Mr Grogan said. "Motherly love took over and Mrs Bainbridge chose not to take that route. It's a tragedy, for which no one can be blamed.
Mrs Bainbridge and her husband David, had emigrated to England in the 1950s, returning to Ireland in 1986. Over the next 10 years, they travelled between Ireland and England frequently while Nigel spent most of that time in England working in a furnishing business.
The court heard of a violent incident involving Nigel and his business partner. It also heard of how the Bainbridges returned to England in 1995 when Nigel disappeared and was later found naked in the River Seine in Paris.
Bainbridge shot his mother in the back with his father's legally held .22 shotgun as she walked down the stairs of their home. He then rang gardai and told them he had killed his mother and asked them to come quickly to the house. When gardai arrived, Bainbridge told them: "I killed her. She was poisoning my mind."
Three psychiatrists told the trial Bainbridge was suffering from a serious mental illness at the time, probably paranoid schizophrenia.
A consultant psychiatrist, Dr Brian McCaffrey, said he had examined Bainbridge this year. Bainbridge had described his mother as a "lovely woman, warm, tender, very caring". He had said: "I never meant to kill her. All I wanted to do was frighten her. I thought that she was poisoning me."
Asked if he could have stopped himself from shooting his mother, he had replied: "I could have done, if I was well."