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20th Jan 2022

Deirdre Morley is suing the HSE over her care in lead up to killing her three children

Trine Jensen-Burke

Deirdre Morley is suing the HSE

Following the killing of her three children, nurse Deirdre Morley was committed to a psychiatric hospital after the courts found her not guilty of the triple-murder by reason of insanity.

Morley, who killed her children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3) at their home in Newcastle, Co Dublin back in January of 2020, is still in the care of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Co Dublin, where she was committed in June of last year.

During her two day trial last year, the court heard that Ms Morley, a nurse who specialised in renal care at Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin, had suffered from mental health difficulties for several years. During the proceedings, two psychiatrists testified that Ms Morley was indeed suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the three killings and fulfilled the criteria for the special verdict.

Under the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006, Ms Morley’s condition and ongoing detention are reviewed every six months.

A review board sits to decide on her ongoing treatment and detention at the Central Mental Hospital based on evidence from her treating psychiatrist.

However, according to the Sunday World, in a new turn of events, Morley is now suing the HSE – alleging it was gross ‘medical negligence’ that lead to the horrific events that occurred on January 24th, 2020.

The Sunday World explains that solicitors acting for Ms Morley, who herself was a clinical nurse, initiated medical negligence proceedings in the High Court yesterday afternoon – in papers naming the HSE and the Governors of St Patrick’s Hospital as defendants.

The case is understood to relate to the care she received for mental health issues in the lead up to her children’s deaths.

This comes following a psychiatric examination at the request of Mr Justice Paul Coffey, carried out in May 2021, after the jury at her murder trial returned an insanity verdict

Mr Justice Coffey had requested that Morley be examined after her insanity verdict, and the examination was subsequently carried out by a consultant forensic psychiatrist.

Addressing the contents of this report at a brief hearing held at the Central Criminal Court in June, Mr Justice Coffey said:

“I am satisfied Ms Morley continues to suffer from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act and I am also satisfied she requires treatment at a designated centre.”

He committed her to the care of the Central Mental Hospital where she has been receiving psychiatric care since shortly after she killed her children in January of 2020.


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