Republic of Ireland news

Woman suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder admits fatally stabbed her fiancé

Cathrina Cahill pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her fiancé David Walsh Picture from RTÉ
By Margaret Scheikowski, Australian Associated Press, and Press Association reporters

A newly-engaged Irish woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when she fatally stabbed her fiancé in Sydney, a judge has been told.

Cathrina Cahill (27), from Wexford, was due to face a murder trial in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Tuesday.

But the charge was downgraded and she pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the basis of substantial impairment by abnormality of the mind.

Cahill admitted unlawfully killing 29-year-old David Walsh – who was also from Wexford – between February 17 and 18 in 2017 in Padstow.

Prosecutor Nanette Williams said the prosecution accepted the plea to the less serious offence on the basis that Cahill was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.

Her barrister, James Trevallion, said the abnormality of mind 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's two housemates, now back in Ireland, could give evidence about the nature of the relationship.

They also were witnesses to events on February 17 at two east Sydney pubs, the Cock'N'Bull Hotel and 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 Mr Walsh's brothers and from a number of children in Ireland.

Cahill's mother and father had travelled to Sydney for her court appearance.

"She's doing OK, but that's all I can really say at this stage," Mr Trevallion said after the hearing.

"Her mother and father are over here from Ireland supporting her. They have had a chance to talk to her in court today."

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