Deirdre Morley found not guilty of murder of three children by reason of insanity

Deirdre Morley found not guilty of murder of three children by reason of insanity

A DUBLIN woman on trial for the murder of her three children has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Deirdre Morley, 44, killed her three young children Conor, 9, Darragh, 7 and Carla, 3, on 24 January 2020.

She suffocated all three before attempting to take her own life.

Following a week-long trial, a jury of 10 men and two women yesterday found her not guilty by reason of insanity after deliberating for almost 5 hours, RTÉ News reports.

The 44-year-old was suffering from a severe psychotic illness at the time of the murders, and had masked the severity of her thoughts from those close to her, including her husband, who was on a work trip in Cork at the time the murders took place.

Deirdre Morley (R) was found not guilty of the murder of her three children Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley by reason of insanity

He arrived home to find his wife being treated by paramedics outside their home in Newcastle, Dublin, on the evening of 24 January, after she had attempted to take her own life.

The children's father, Andrew McGinley called the children's childminder to enquire about their whereabouts but was told they were not there.

He then entered the house with paramedics where he found 9-year-old Conor dead downstairs, and seven-year-old Darragh and three-year-old Carla dead in his bed.

Deirdre Morley had killed the two younger children by suffocating them earlier in the day and placed them in the couple's bed. She then collected Conor from school and suffocated him in the play tent downstairs.

The trial heard that Ms Morley's mental illness was so severe at the time that she believed she had irreparably harmed the children by passing on her metal illness to them, and that she was not a good mother to them.

She made the decision to take her own life and thought it was her only option to take them with her. She had spent time in a psychiatric hospital before this, but the family were not aware that doctors had suggested she should return.

When Deirdre Morley awoke from a coma a week later, she immediately regretted her actions and told gardaí she wanted her children back.

The jurors had been told by Mr Justice Paul Coffey, presiding over the case, that the evidence in the case had all gone one way and there should be no contest in the result of the trial.

The 12 jurors had to be satisfied that Ms Morley was suffering from a mental disorder at the time she killed the children, that she did not know the nature and quality of what she was doing or did not know what she was doing was wrong or was unable to stop.

The jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity on those grounds, and she will be returned to the Central Mental Hospital where she is being treated for a mental disorder.

In a statement yesterday, Conor, Darragh and Carla's father, Andrew McGinley, thanked everyone for their support over an immensely difficult year, and said today's verdict "is probably the right verdict".

Gardaí name three children found dead in Dublin house. Andrew McGinley with his children Conor, Darragh and Carla

"Everyone who knows Deirdre, knows how much she loved our children and how devoted she was to them.

"Whatever the outcome of this trial, it remains that our beloved children Conor, Darragh and Carla have died. As I write this, I’m no closer to understanding why."

He called for a full investigation into her care within the HSE Mental Health Services, as her diagnosis throughout the trial is different to her diagnosis prior to the children's murders, and argued "If Deirdre’s diagnosis was questionable prior to January 24th 2020 then surely so too was her treatment and medication.

"We are now also aware of a number of occasions within Deirdre’s professional care when her initial diagnosis should have been queried but none of these seem to have been fully addressed."

A full investigation "will help us understand the insanity that took the lives of our beloved Conor, Darragh and Carla.

"We as a family need to be included in any investigation as our exclusion during her treatment has left us with many unanswered questions. We believe that an inclusive investigation can only serve to inform clinicians in their practice and therefore avoid tragedies like ours happening again. We do not want any other family to suffer as we have."