Pregnant woman guilty of manslaughter — (The Irish Times)

SSRI Ed note: Young woman taking antidepressants drinks alcohol, arms herself with knife, stabs to death neighbor who looked after her puppy as favor.

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The Irish Times

Last Updated: Monday, July 28, 2008, 14:41

A Galway woman who is eight months pregnant will be sentenced on Wednesday for the manslaughter of a neighbour whom she stabbed to death two years ago in a drunken row over a puppy.

Una Black (26) of Walter Macken Flats, Mervue, Galway, pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the manslaughter of 42 year-old John Malone at the flats on December 3rd, 2006.

Mr Justice Paul Carney heard that the deceased had been looking after a puppy for the defendant and had become annoyed that she had not been to his flat for a week to assist in looking after it.

Mr Malone told Black that he had sold the dog so she went to his flat to retrieve it. The pair struggled and Black armed herself with a knife. She returned to get her dog a second time and they fought again. During that struggle Mr Malone was fatally stabbed by the defendant.

Detective Garda Tony Reidy told Aileen Donnelly SC, prosecuting, that Mr Malone received a single fatal stab wound to the upper chest at around 5.30am. Black called the emergency services and said a man was lying on the ground following a fight between two men.

Black later admitted to gardai that she had inflicted the fatal wound during a row but said she did not know how it had happened and did not intend to kill Mr Malone. She had been drinking alcohol and taking antidepressants on the night and morning in question.

Mr Malone was found face down in a pool of blood by medics and was taken to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6.43am. He had suffered a punctured lung but no defensive wounds.

Gardai went to Black’s flat where she lived with her boyfriend, Thomas Donohue, and the two were arrested and questioned.

She initially told gardai that Mr Malone had pulled out a knife but later agreed that it was she who had taken a knife to the scene during a second attempt to get the dog. She said she knew he would come at her and she wanted him to keep away and scare him.

They struggled again and she stabbed him. She told gardai she couldn’t understand how it had happened.

Defence counsel, Diarmaid McGuinness SC said Black deeply regretted her actions. He read a letter from her in which she said she was truly sorry and ashamed and, “wished to God she could take it back”.

She is expecting her first child and said it hurt her that the baby would be taken from her after 18 months.

A medical report detailed a history of depression, psychiatric disorder, alcoholism and incidents of self harm.

Mr McGuinness told Mr Justice Carney that Black had believed for medical reasons that she was unable to have children and was deeply attached to her puppy. She had fled the country before her trial date as she could not face it while pregnant.

Mr Justice Carney remanded her in custody until Wednesday morning when he will impose sentence.

© 2008