An Irish woman who killed her three children in January 2020 is suing the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) for “medical negligence”.
Deirdre Morley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering her three children Conor, 9, Darragh, 7, and Carla McGinley, 3, at their home in Newcastle, County Dublin on January 24, 2020.
Lawyers for Morley filed medical negligence proceedings in the High Court on Wednesday, also naming the governor of St. Patrick’s University Hospital and a consultant psychiatrist as defendants.
Morley’s husband and children’s father, Andrew McGinley, have also brought medical negligence proceedings in the High Court, saying he wants to understand why his children died.
“It’s a process I would much rather not go through. I just want to understand why my children died,” McGinley told the Irish Independent in a statement confirming that legal action had been taken.
Morley was found not guilty of the murders of her children by reason of insanity last May and was committed to Central Mental Hospital in June by Judge Paul Coffey.
Morley is receiving psychiatric care at Central Medical Hospital shortly after her children died in January 2020.
Andrew McGinley has told the Irish Independent that his wife’s trial has raised a number of questions about her care before she killed their three children.
“I think anyone who attended the trial or saw those medical reports would have questions. I sat there and just had question after question after question that still haven’t been answered,” McGinley said.
He added that his wife’s medical diagnosis at the end of the trial differed from the one she received before the tragic incident and said her initial diagnosis should have been questioned during her professional care.
He also said his wife showed enough warning signs during her care to warrant a breach of patient confidentiality to inform her of the extent of her mental illness.
“Confidentiality should have been breached. But someone chose not to,” he said.
Morley’s trial revealed that she hid the full extent of her illness from her husband and those close to her.
Morley, who worked as a pediatric nurse at Crumlin Hospital, had a long history of depression, according to her lawsuit.
Her condition had degenerated into delirium and psychosis by the time she killed her children.
She told Gardaí that she killed them because she believed they had been damaged by her mental illness and parenthood.
She believed they had no future and therefore believed it was morally right to kill her children to “end their suffering”.
She later expressed remorse but said she couldn’t stop.
Morley had taken antidepressants for two years before killing his children and spending a short time in St. Patrick’s Hospital in July 2019 after expressing suicidal thoughts.
Her harrowing trial learned how she smothered her three children with pillows, plastic bags and duct tape while her husband was at work.
She smothered Darragh, then her three-year-old daughter, Carla, before picking up Conor from school and suffocating him as well.
Morley set out to commit suicide after killing his children. She took prescription painkillers and drank a bottle of wine and headed to a local overpass. However, she had a car accident on the way and was taken home by a passerby.
She left her house again and was found in a visibly disoriented state by another passerby, who phoned emergency services.
Her husband Andrew returned from work to find her unconscious outside the house being treated by paramedics. He then discovered the bodies of his children on the floor of the family home.