A 22-year-old man was this week sentenced to life in prison for murdering his mother at their Islandeady home while he was high on drugs. Celyn Eadon stabbed Nóirín Kelly 19 times on March 9, 2011 and she died at the scene.
Her family said after the sentencing that ‘drugs ruin lives’.
Eadon of Derrycrieve, Islandeady, Castlebar, had admitted his 46-year-old mother’s manslaughter but had pleaded not guilty to her murder. The eight-day trial at the Central Criminal Court heard that Eadon had started using drugs at a very young age, beginning with solvent sniffing at the age of 10.
By the time of his mother’s death, he was unemployed and taking amphetamines, methamphetamines and cannabis, along with prescription medication. His mother had taken drugs from his bedroom and burned them on the evening before she died.
Although he did not know who had taken them, his brother said he was “absolutely schizo” about it and the State argued that their disappearance might have been a trigger for the attack.
Various witnesses told the trial that the accused was hallucinating in the days before killing his mother, seeing aliens, fire ants, demons, and black smoke. He had also started a number of fires, both inside and outside their house.
His mother had tried in vain to get help for him from both the gardaí and the local hospital. She called his father, from whom she was separated, her brother, and a recovered drug abuser to the house on the evening before she died. All spoke to the accused in an effort to help him.
His younger brother, Ferdia Eadon, testified that he woke to the sound of his mother screaming in the early hours of the morning. He found her slumped and dying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor and said his brother was nowhere to be seen. The court heard that after killing his mother, the accused crossed open countryside, discarding his shoes, socks, and top. He was covered in scratches by breakfast time when he turned up at the house of a stranger.
John Scott testified that the accused approached his kitchen window and said he had been abducted by aliens, who had experimented on him.
When arrested, he said he did not realise he had stabbed his mother, that she “didn’t appear to be the same person”.
He was taken to hospital, where he tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamines and cannabis.
Eadon argued during his trial that his prolonged drug abuse had caused brain damage and that such a mental disorder meant he had diminished responsibility for the killing. He further argued that he was so intoxicated by drugs at the time he killed his mother that he was unable to form the statutory intent. He asked for a verdict of manslaughter in both cases.
However a jury of seven men and four women rejected this yesterday and found him guilty of murder by unanimous verdict after two hours and 22 minutes deliberating.
In their victim impact report, Ms Kelly’s family members said drugs ruined lives. Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, read out the statement they had prepared.
“We remember Nóirín today and every day as a devoted mother, sister, auntie, and friend. The only word we can use to describe how we feel since the loss of Nóirín is devastated.
“Her untimely and tragic death has left our family in a state of shock, confusion, and deep hurt. She was a beautiful person, both inside and out.
“Her love of nature, her energy, and sheer love of life set a glow in the hearts of all who knew her. This warmth and light has been extinguished forever from our lives, leaving us hollow.
“Our only hope is that no other family will have to endure the pain, heartache, and destruction that we have suffered as a result of drug abuse.
“Drugs ruin lives,” the statement concluded.
Mr Justice Paul Carney thanked the jurors, noting that such cases were very distressing. He exempted them from jury service for life, before Eadon was led away to begin his life sentence.