Woman who made stab death threats ‘under influence of Devil’

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A Co Londonderry woman accused of threatening to stab her young daughter to death claimed to be under the Devil’s influence, the High Court has heard.

She said voices in her head made her talk about killing the three-year-old girl, her own mother and ex-husband before committing suicide, a judge was told.

The 22-year-old defendant, who denies any intention to act on her alleged comments, is not being named to protect the child’s identity.

She faces three charges of making threats to kill in connection with alleged disclosures at a psychiatric unit last week.

The woman was in Holywell Hospital in Antrim on October 16 for an assessment on her mental state.

During a bail hearing Crown lawyer Rosie Walsh said the accused told staff she wanted to kill her mother, former partner and three-year-old daughter.

“Asked how she intended to do this, she said she would stab them,” Ms Walsh submitted.

“She was asked if she definitely wanted to carry out these threats and she nodded.”

It was claimed that she then went on to speak about killing herself.

Staff who contacted police assessed the threats as being credible, according to the prosecution.

Notes on the theme of death and killing were allegedly made by the accused during her time at the hospital, Ms Walsh continued.

During police interviews the woman accepted making comments but insisted they were neither meant nor ever intended to be carried out.

The prosecutor added: “She believes that she hears voices, and the Devil is making her say these things.

“Police have concerns there’s a very real risk of offending if the applicant is of the view she is being communicated with the Devil who is telling her to say these things.”

Mr Justice Burgess was told a consultant psychiatrist who examined the accused did not believe she was suffering from a mental illness.

He assessed her as being fit for interview rather than requiring in-patient care.

But defence counsel suggested a borderline personality disorder, adding that his client may not have been taking her medication.

Adjourning the bail application, the judge ordered more information about her medical background.

He said: “These are obviously extremely serious threats – this lady is saying ‘I don’t mean to do it but somebody is telling me to do it’.

“There are syndromes and there are medical issues that are not fanciful in any way.”