Man found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering his parents

Siblings of Julian Cuddihy say the tragedy could have been avoided

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A man has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering his parents at their home in Carndonagh, Co. Donegal in October 2014.

Julian Cuddihy believed he was carrying out his mother’s wish to go to heaven when he attacked her and his father with an axe.

Two forensic psychiatrists agreed that Mr Cuddihy was having a psychotic episode when he killed his parents Kathleen and James Snr.

In the lead up to the killings, he was refusing to eat because he was convinced his mother was trying to poison him.

He could not sleep because he was worried people were stealing his thoughts and he was convinced the IRA was trying to recruit him.

His family were concerned, and tragically his father James Snr cancelled an appointment with local mental health services just six days beforehand.

On the night of the killings, he said he could hear his mother’s voice in his head asking him to take their lives so they could go to heaven.

The jury returned with the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity after deliberating for less than an hour.

He will now undergo further assessment before the court decides on the best course of action for him later this month.

In a statement, the Cuddihy family urged anybody with similar concerns about the mental wellbeing of a loved one to seek timely assistance and intervention.

“This is a tragedy for all our family, in particular for our beloved parents, Jimmy and Kathleen, but also for our brother Julian," they said.

“A major factor in all this is while we did take steps to try get our brother professional help, decisive actions were not taken by our family which would have prevented this tragedy. We hope that nothing like this will ever happen to another family".