18 Aug 2022

Doctors differ on whether man accused of beheading his mother is fit to stand trial

Doctors differ on whether man accused of beheading his mother is fit to stand trial

Two consultant psychiatrists have disagreed on whether a Polish man, who is accused of decapitating his mother, is fit to stand trial.

Mr Justice Michael White will decide whether Tomasz Krzysztof Piotrowski (33) can be tried at the Central Criminal Court for the alleged murder of his mother Elzbieta Piotrowska (57) on January 8, 2019.

Dominic McGinn SC for the Director of Public Prosecutions told the court that Ms Piotrowska's decapitated body was found in her home at Clonmore, Ardee, Co Louth on the morning of January 8 last year. She had suffered a significant number of stab wounds, he said, and an axe and stanley knives were found close to her body.

Mr Piotrowski, of Cherrybrook, Ardee was arrested on the same day and was subsequently deemed unfit to be tried having been assessed by psychiatrists at the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) in Dundrum, Dublin. However, Mr McGinn said that Dr Mary Davoren had decided on December 3 last that Mr Piotrowski is now fit to stand trial. He said this came about following a consultation in November during which Mr Piotrowski accepted that he had lied to psychiatrists.

Consultant psychiatrist at the CMH Dr Conor O'Neill disagreed. He told counsel for Mr Piotrowski, Roisin Lacey SC, that he believes Mr Piotrowski is still suffering from delusional beliefs, that his symptoms are most likely the result of paranoid schizophrenia and that he is not fit to plead at his trial.

He said the accused man continues to hold a range of delusional beliefs including that the deceased is not his real mother but a witch who used black magic to harm him. He addressed a suggestion that the psychotic symptoms could have been the result of drug use by saying that the symptoms persisted when Mr Piotrowski was treated for lengthy periods in different hospitals, including the CMH, where he did not have access to illegal drugs.

He said he assessed Mr Piotrowski in September this year as being unfit to plead and having seen him several times since then and having viewed reports by other psychiatrists, his opinion has not changed. He said that while Mr Piotrowski has recently denied being mentally unwell he continues to describe beliefs that are delusional.

Mr Justice Michael White adjourned the hearing until December 21.

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