Tuesday, 29 Sep 2020

Irish woman traumatised by 'violent' fiancé when she killed him – claim

An Irish woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when she killed her fiancé in Australia, a court has heard.

Christina Cahill (27), known as ‘Tina’ and originally from Wexford, had been charged with the murder of David Walsh in their Sydney home. Mr Walsh (29) died after suffering a catastrophic injury to his neck caused by a broken bottle.

The murder trial was due to begin yesterday but Ms Cahill pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which was accepted by the prosecution.

Lawyers for the defendant argued that she carried out the killing between February 17 and 18, 2017 under substantial impairment.

She had suffered from PTSD as a result of Mr Walsh’s conduct towards her, and the court heard that he was degrading and violent towards Ms Cahill.

Prosecutor Nanette Williams said the prosecution accepted the plea to the less serious offence on the basis that Ms Cahill was suffering an abnormality of mind at the time.

Her barrister, James Trevallion, said this PTSD was caused by Mr Walsh’s conduct towards his client, submitting that the judge needed to be aware of the “extent of the provocation and controlling behaviour” by Mr Walsh.

The couple had been socialising with a number of friends that evening before a row broke out, with neighbours reporting loud noises coming from their property.

Emergency services were called to the home but Mr Walsh was pronounced dead.

The couple’s two housemates, now back in Ireland, could give evidence about the nature of the relationship.

They were also witnesses to events on February 17 at the Cock’N’Bull Hotel, the Doncaster Hotel and at the Padstow address, Mr Trevallion said.

The prosecution and defence have yet to prepare an agreed statement of facts for Justice Peter Johnson to use as the basis for Cahill’s sentence hearing on November 1.

Ms Williams said the prosecution was seeking victim impact statements from a number of Mr Walsh’s family members in Ireland.

Speaking outside the court after the hearing, Mr Trevallion said his client was “doing OK”.

He added that her parents, Daniel and Rita, had travelled from Ireland to support her and had a chance to speak with their daughter in court.

Justice Peter Johnson set a sentencing hearing for November 1 and remanded Ms Cahill in custody.

Mr Walsh, who is originally from Enniscorthy, was facing a number of charges in Ireland but had moved to Australia.

They included an assault of his ex-partner in 2012, assaulting three gardaí at Enniscorthy Garda Station that same year and three other assault charges.

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