Fiance killer’s startling claims
AN IRISH woman who killed her fiance in their Sydney home has told a court he would make a throat-slitting gesture while waiting for her at work.
Cathrina "Tina" Cahill appeared in the New South Wales Supreme Court today to give evidence at her sentence hearing after the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh. The Crown earlier accepted her plea to the less serious charge, after it was downgraded from murder, on the basis of substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind at the time.
Mr Walsh, 29, also from Ireland, died from a neck wound sustained at the couple's home in Padstow, southwestern Sydney, after a night out on February 17 last year.
The father of three girls, who reside in his homeland, was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called to the house on Watson Road.
Cahill told the court that Mr Walsh blocked friends from her Facebook account, deleted messages and numbers from her phone and accused her of having an affair with her boss. She also said he would come to her workplace and make threatening gestures, which she demonstrated by tracing her finger across her throat.
The couple left Ireland in 2013 to live in Australia. Prior to his death, Mr Walsh worked in construction and Cahill was employed with a traffic management company.
The pair had been engaged for just five weeks prior to the incident after Mr Walsh proposed on New Year's Eve 2016.
According to the agreed statement of facts, the couple went out drinking with others before they got into an argument and Mr Walsh went home, on February 17 last year.
Cahill, two female friends and Matthew Hyde - a man they had socialised with at one of the pubs - later turned up at the Padstow address where Mr Walsh appeared to be asleep on a couch.
Soon after, Mr Walsh woke up and attacked Mr Hyde, for being an unknown man in his house.
Cahill screamed: "Stop it Davey, get off, get off … he's with Grace."
She tried to get a grip of her fiance's arms when he swung his arm back and she fell to the ground, according to the statement of facts.
She moved towards him and punched him in the face with a closed fist, before Mr Walsh pushed her again and tried to punch her in the face.
Eventually, "the offender opened and closed the cutlery drawer quickly taking out a large, very sharp, bladed knife".
One witness heard Mr Walsh repeatedly say "put it back" but Cahill replied: "No, he needs to be taught a lesson. It's not fair. Look at poor Matthew."
The court last week heard that Cahill was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when she fatally stabbed her fiance. She was due to face an eight-week murder trial in the NSW Supreme Court until the charge was downgraded from murder and she pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Cahill admitted unlawfully killing Mr Walsh - who was also from County Wexford in southeastern Ireland - between February 17 and 18 in 2017.
Prosecutor Nanette Williams said the Crown accepted the plea to the less serious offence on the basis that Cahill was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.
Her barrister, James Trevallion, said the substantial abnormality of mind was caused by Mr Walsh's conduct towards his client, submitting that the judge needed to be aware of the "extent of the provocation and controlling behaviour by the deceased" in the days and weeks leading up to his death.
"How degrading and psychologically damaging and violent that behaviour was," Mr Trevallion said.
Mr Walsh was one of seven children, who were living in Ireland along with their parents, at the time of his death.
The court on Thursday heard victim impact statements written by four of Mr Walsh's brothers which were read out on their behalf.
According to Mr Walsh's brother Jonathan, their father was devastated when he learned he had lost a son, and said: "I don't want him up there on his own son. I am going to be with him soon." He died 10 months later "from a broken heart", according to another one of Mr Walsh's brothers, Patrick. The court heard their mother had become an empty shell of her former self.
The court previously heard that the couple's relationship was "violent" and "degrading" and that Mr Walsh often abused Cahill.
"Then they decided to get married not long before this event … with the psychological consequences these things had on her," Justice Johnson said.
They'd had a "stormy" relationship for years and that Cahill had repeatedly stabbed Mr Walsh in the back of the head 18 months before knifing him again in a fatal attack, a court has heard. Cahill said he needed "to be taught a lesson" before she stabbed him to death, the court heard.
One of their former housemates, UK citizen Isobel Jennings, on Thursday testified that the couple was arguing in October 2015 when she saw Cahill appear at the top of the stairs with her hand behind her back. Ms Jennings said Mr Walsh was "sitting on a sofa with his head in his hands" when Cahill suddenly stabbed him in the head three or four times.
"I just thought she was hitting him but after a few seconds, I realised she had a knife," Ms Jennings said.
Under cross examination, it was put to Ms Jennings that she was lying, when she recalled Cahill saying: "I just wanted to kill him. I just wanted to kill him." Ms Jennings denied the allegations that her claims were untrue.
Justice Johnson this morning noted that Cahill was convicted in April 2016 of reckless wounding for injuring Mr Walsh by throwing a large candle stick at him in November the previous year. She was subsequently placed on a two-year-bond, at Waverley Local Court.
Two of their housemates were also witnesses to incidents on February 17 at the Cock'N'Bull Hotel in Bondi, the Doncaster Hotel in Kensington and at their Padstow address, Mr Trevallion told the court.
Mr Trevallion last week said after the hearing that Cahill was "doing OK".
"Her mother and father are over here from Ireland supporting her," he said.
Irish newspapers have previously reported Mr Walsh had fled the country after being charged with assaulting his former partner, three Irish police officers and a man whose ear was partially bitten off.
The hearing continues.