Man found not guilty of brother's murder by reason of insanity

Man found not guilty of brother's murder by reason of insanity

A man with “paranoid schizophrenia” who told gardaí that he killed his younger brother and attempted to kill his father while under the influence of “airwave manipulation” has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

John Murphy Jnr (44), of Seaview in Carrigaline, Co Cork, was charged with the murder of his brother Shane (27) and the attempted murder of his father, John Aloysius 'Weeshie' Murphy Snr (75) at the family home.

went on trial on Monday at a sitting of the Central Criminal Court in Cork.

He was charged with the murder of his younger brother Shane (27) and the attempted murder of his father John Aloysius 'Weeshie' Murphy Snr.


The jury of seven women and five men at the Central Criminal Court, sitting in Cork, returned unanimous verdicts on all four charges.

In her charge to the jury, Ms Justice Siobhan Lankford said both the psychiatrists for the accused and the defence agreed that Mr Murphy Jnr was entitled to the special verdict.

She noted the psychiatrists were in agreement that the accused was suffering from a severe mental illness.

'Difficult, sad and emotive'

Ms Justice Lankford thanked the jury for their diligence and attention during the "difficult, sad and emotive" case.


Prosecution barrister Jane Hyland SC made an application under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act of 2006 for the accused to be clinically assessed at the Central Mental Hospital in order to decide on his present medical state.

Ms Justice Lankford remanded him in custody at the hospital to facilitate the preparation of a report on his condition.

The case will be return before the court on May 7th.

Detective Garda Ian Breen previously told the court that John Murphy Snr was living with his sons, John, Brian and Shane, when the attack occurred in their semi-detached home on March 26th, 2022.


Mr Murphy's wife, Marie, died in 2012, and his son Brian was not at home when the incident took place.

Det Garda Breen said the father was watching golf on television at 2.50am when his eldest, John Jnr, came into his bedroom and told him to go into a neighbour's house.

His son gave no explanation for the request, but "for the sake of peace", the pensioner began to get dressed.

The detective said John Murphy Jnr then began to strangle his father, who shouted for help from his son, Shane, who ran into the room.

"Weeshie [John Snr] escaped," the Garda said, adding that Shane Murphy then screamed that he had been stabbed, asking for an ambulance to be called.

Det Garda Breen said John Jnr went out onto the street and stabbed his father before returning to continue his assault on his brother.

I will do whatever you want.

Neighbours said in garda statements that at around 2.50am they heard Shane Murphy shouting: "Please stop, John. I will do whatever you want." They said they heard Shane repeat those words around 10 times.

Det Garda Breen said Shane made a 999 call at 3.11am. During the "graphic recording", Shane was heard to be "terrified and retreating", and "begging John to stop".

Shane Murphy said he needed an ambulance. However, it is understood that he died during the emergency call.

Two officers from the Garda Armed Support Unit were first at the scene.

Det Garda Breen said they found Shane Murphy "lying in a pool of blood". Efforts were made to resuscitate him but he was formally pronounced dead shortly after 5am.

Dt Garda Breen said a post-mortem examination on the late Shane Murphy by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster revealed that he sustained nine stab wounds, including a fatal stab wound and a potentially fatal injury to the left lung.

Shane Murphy died of haemorrhage and shock, the trial heard.

'Gone berserk'

John Murphy Snr had escaped up the road, where he was assisted by a passing taxi driver.

Mr Murphy Snr told the taxi driver that his son John "had gone berserk" in the house.

After the incident, John Murphy Jnr went to a friend's house in Carrigaline. The accused told the friend he had intervened in a fight between his father and brother, and they were "both dead".

The accused asked his friend to take him to Passage West, but got out of the car before they arrived, prompting the friend to ring Gardaí.

John Jnr was later arrested shortly after 8am on March 26th in Passage West, and was sent to Cork University Hospital where a psychiatric assessment was carried out.

He was deemed fit to be interviewed, and was questioned on three occasions, Det Garda Breen said.

During interview, he accused gardaí of "manipulation of the airwaves", and admitted assaulting his father and stabbing his brother "six or seven times". He told gardaí: "It was either me or Shane. One of us had to die."

Det Garda Breen said John Murphy Jnr was "sober and coherent" on the way to the Garda station from the hospital, but was clearly "troubled".

Defence psychiatrist Dr Stephen Monks said it was his belief that at the time of the incident, Mr Murphy Jnr was suffering from "a schizophrenic psychosis with hyper manic mood disturbance".

Dr Monks added that the accused blamed "airwave manipulations" for his actions, adding: "He told me that airwave manipulation had destroyed his life. He gave a very detailed account of airwave manipulation. 'Airwave manipulation' was the term he used to describe hearing voices and thoughts."

Dr Monks said John Murphy Jnr told him this 'airwave manipulation' "made me do things", adding: "It made me kill my brother."

By Olivia Kelleher

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