Man phoned gardai after he shot mother in the back, court told

A RECLUSIVE man told gardai he had shot his mother because she was "poisoning my mind", the Central Criminal Court has been told…

A RECLUSIVE man told gardai he had shot his mother because she was "poisoning my mind", the Central Criminal Court has been told.

Mr Nigel Bainbridge shot his 61 year old mother in the back as she walked down the stairs of their home at the Rectory near Coolraine, Co Laois, Mr Paul O'Higgins SC, prosecuting, said yesterday.

Then he rang the gardai and told them he had killed his mother and asked them to come quickly to the house, counsel said.

Just weeks earlier Mrs Patricia Bainbridge had turned down a doctor's request that she and her husband commit their youngest son to a psychiatric institution, the court was told.

Mr David Bainbridge, husband of the deceased and father of Nigel, said his wife had reacted as any mother would in wanting to keep her son out of an institution.

"Pat did not wish that to happen. She orchestrated her own downfall," he said.

Dr John Lyons said he believed Nigel Bainbridge was floridly psychotic at the time of his mother's death.

He said Mr Bainbridge's parents had been concerned about their son because he shut himself away in his room, emerging only, to cook his own meals. But the Bainbridges did not want to sign ban order forcing their son into a psychiatric institution, the doctor said.

The trial opened yesterday of Mr Nigel Bainbridge (29), who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of his mother, Mrs Patricia Bainbridge, at their home at Coolraine, Mountrath, Co Laois on May 6th last year.

Evidence in the case concluded yesterday afternoon and a verdict is expected today.

Opening the case, Mr O'Higgins said it was a "tragic and appalling" one. The death of Mrs Bainbridge had occurred just months after her son Nigel had come from England to stay with his parents at the Old Rectory, which they had bought in 1986.

Mrs Bainbridge was originally from Co Laois but had emigrated to England in the 1950s where she met and married Mr David Bainbridge. They had three children - Robert, Lorraine and Nigel, who was the youngest.

Mr Brendan Grogan SC, defending, said the facts were not in dispute and were admitted by his, client. The issue was whether he was legally insane at the time.

Sgt James Arthurs said Mr Nigel Bainbridge had telephoned Mountrath Garda station about 4.45 p.m. on May 6th last year. He said Mr Bainbridge had said: "Hello Jim, I'm after killing my mother."

The defendant's voice was calm, the witness said. He said his mother was in the kitchen and his father was outside cutting the grass. He said the gun was in the sittingroom. The defendant had said: "Hurry, get here quick."

Sgt Arthurs said he and another garda went to the scene about 5.15 p.m. He saw Mr David Bainbridge cutting grass and apparently unaware of what was happening. He shouted at Mr Bainbridge but then the front door opened and the defendant came out.

The defendant had said: "I killed her, she was poisoning me, she was poisoning my mind." He had extended his tongue which was coated green and white and said: "Can't you see she's poisoning me?"

Sgt Arthurs said he told the defendant he was arresting him and a violent struggle ensued.

Mr David Bainbridge had seen the struggle and went into the house, Sgt Arthurs said. He came running out and screamed at his son: "You bastard, you killed her". He tried to kick the defendant, who was struggling with gardai on the ground.

Mr David Bainbridge said he married in the late 1950s and had three children with his wife, Patricia. They had lived in Worthing, running a guesthouse business there, and came to Ireland in 1986.

He said Nigel had entered the furnishing business in England and had come to Ireland also in 1986. He was not working initially but then worked for a time in a hotel and in the bars in Dublin Airport.

They had returned to England in 1987 and Nigel went back just before them. Mr Bainbridge said he and his wife were in Ireland when, in 1995, they received a series of alarming phone calls from his son Robert, which were about Nigel, who had disappeared and then reappeared, having been in Paris. He had also seriously attacked his partner.

Mr and Mrs Bainbridge went to England and found Nigel in a dishevelled state. His behaviour was strange. He talked of religious matters and camped on the flat roof of the guesthouse.

Mr Bainbridge said: "I personally felt it was an elaborate charade."

Nigel had lived with them from September, 1995 until his mother's death in May, 1996. During that time he did little work and spent much time upstairs in his room. He would remain upstairs all day and come down at night and start an "elaborate cooking procedure". Mr Bainbridge said his son had "a strange idea that his food was contaminated".

Mr Bainbridge said he and his wife were concerned about Nigel and had asked a local doctor to visit him. He said the doctor had wanted Nigel admitted to a psychiatric institution but he and his" wife were reluctant to sign the required order.

Dr John Lyons said Mrs Patricia Bainbridge had asked him to examine her son Nigel around Christmas, 1995. He was spending a lot of time in his bedroom and cooked his own food.

Dr Lyons said he consulted a psychiatrist colleague and told him he felt Nigel was psychotic. His colleague agreed and offered to examine him in his home.

Dr Lyons said he told the defendant's parents he believed Nigel should be committed to a psychiatric institution or, if they were reluctant to do so, then a psychiatrist was prepared to come to the house and try to see him.

The witness said he saw the defendant on May 7th, 1996. He believed the defendant "was out off touch with reality, completely mad".

Dr Charles Smith, clinical director of the Central Mental Hospital, said the defendant has been at the hospital since shortly after his mother's shooting.

"I don't think this sad tragedy would have occurred had he not been ill," Dr Smith said.

Dr Brian McCaffrey, a consultant psychiatrist, said he had examined the defendant on February 12th and on February 7th this year at the request of the State. He concluded that on the day of the shooting the defendant had a serious psychiatric illness.

The case continues before Mr Justice Flood and a jury.