Fiance killer is ‘pure evil’
WARNING: Disturbing content.
A woman who killed her fiance in their Sydney apartment has been described by a young girl as "pure evil" and told to "rot in hell".
Cathrina "Tina" Cahill, 27, has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh, 29, after killing him just seven weeks after the pair became engaged on New Year's Eve 2016.
Cahill and Mr Walsh, both from Ireland, were living in Padstow, southwest Sydney, when she fatally stabbed him in the neck during an alcohol-fuelled argument on February 18, 2017.
During her sentencing hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday, tears streamed down the killer's face as her father Daniel Cahill - who had flown into Sydney with his wife to support their daughter - told the court she was a "brilliant person".
He said she had "never" previously displayed violent or aggressive behaviour and that she was always helping others.
The character assessment was, perhaps unsurprisingly, in stark contrast to those in support of Mr Walsh. In one of several victim impact statements read out in court, a13-year-old girl who can't be identified due to her age, said the "hate" she has for Cahill "turns (her) stomach".
"Hearing your name, seeing your face, it's just horrible," the girl wrote.
"If it happened to you … How would you feel?
"I don't think you'd feel, because you don't have a heart you don't care, but I do, we do. I hope you rot in hell 'Tina Cahill'."
Another 13-year-old girl wrote in her victim impact statement that "there was no reason" for Mr Walsh to be killed.
"I still wonder why (Cahill) did it … I just think it's pure evil and not about depression, it's her in and out evil," the statement read.
"He got taken away because of her. I have a broken heart because of her."
According to court documents, 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 launched an unprovoked attack on Mr Hyde, while demanding to know who he was. According to a statement of agreed facts, Mr Walsh repeatedly punched Mr Hyde, bit him on the face, then grabbed him by the hair and tried to smash his face into the floor.
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.
Cahill then opened the cutlery drawer, quickly took out a "large, very sharp, bladed knife" and stabbed him.
The documents allege 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."
According to the agreed statement of facts, Mr Walsh started to "bleed profusely with blood coming out of (his) mouth". He accepted a tea towel one of the witnesses passed to him and yelled "call an ambulance, call an ambulance", a statement of agreed facts read. He then walked outside and collapsed.
Mr Walsh was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called to the house on Watson Rd.
VICTIM DIED 'ALONE ON A FOOTPATH'
Prosecutor Nanette Williams on Tuesday said Mr Walsh's death was "brutal and violent".
"(He) had to die alone on a footpath in a foreign country," she said.
Moments after stabbing Mr Walsh, Cahill turned to one of the witnesses and said, "He's gone mental … I can't cope no more. I can't believe what I just done (sic)," court documents allege.
In a police interview just hours after Mr Walsh's death, Cahill told officers: "I stepped in to help and I stabbed him. I stabbed him."
Her barrister, James Trevallion, submitted his client had no intention to kill, the stabbing had involved a single jab and Mr Walsh was the one who initiated the violence. Mr Trevallion said there was no evidence Cahill had ever struck Mr Walsh without any provocation.
Cahill last week told the court she wished she had a "time machine" to go back and change what happened.
"There is not a day that goes by when I don't think about David's family," she said when asked how she felt about having killed her fiance.
"I loved him so much.
"He told me no matter what I did I would never get away from him and if I ever got with anybody else he would make my life hell."
COUPLE'S RELATIONSHIP WAS 'VIOLENT' AND 'DEGRADING'
Cahill 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, which carries a lesser maximum sentence of 25 years jail.
She admitted unlawfully killing Mr Walsh - who was also from County Wexford in southeastern Ireland - between February 17 and 18 in 2017.
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 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.
Justice Peter Johnson noted 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.
He also noted that the pair had a "two-way domestic violent relationship" with repeated episodes of violence and mutual Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs).
The couple started dating after meeting at a Bondi Junction pub in late 2014 before the relationship turned violent the following year.
In September 2015, Cahill told police, after an AVO was issued against Mr Walsh to protect her, that she was not fearful of him.
"I was in fear of getting in more trouble from David if I told the truth," she said on Tuesday.
"He would call me a rat and a dog."
She had packed her bags many times to leave him, but Mr Walsh would tell her everything was going to be different.
"He would be making me dinner, buying me flowers, buying me a teddy bear but after two to three weeks it would go back to the way it was," she said.
Earlier, Cahill told the court she often woke up naked despite having gone to bed wearing pyjamas, and that she once found a photo on her fiance's phone of herself asleep with semen on her face. She said she confronted Mr Walsh about it but that he just laughed and said that "if I didn't have sex with him, he was going to get it anyway".
Cahill claimed Mr Walsh would show up at her work and make threatening gestures, which she demonstrated by tracing her finger across her throat. He would often grab and scratch her face and "constantly bite" her, Cahill said.
The court heard Mr Walsh once threw a glass bottle through a new TV, "would constantly break things in the house" and punch holes in the walls.
Cahill said that he repeatedly subjected her to cruel taunts and accused her of having affairs and that she couldn't even look in the rear vision mirror while driving in case a man was in the car behind them. If she looked in the direction of another man, he would tell her: "I hope you got a good look, sl*t," she said.
Cahill also told the court that on one occasion, Mr Walsh attacked a man at a hotel, because he spoke to her female friend.
"David came in and hit the guy so hard he landed on the floor," she said.
"He said, 'He won't look at my missus again.'"
Cahill painted a picture of a violent and controlling partner who she said blocked friends from her Facebook account, deleted messages and contacts from her phone and accused her of having an affair with her boss.
"There were 35 people that were blocked from my Facebook. Some of them were friends of his that I had never met," she said.
Cahill told the judge she didn't leave Mr Walsh despite him being a "controlling and fairly unpleasant" man because she loved and adored him.
Prior to his death, Mr Walsh worked in construction and Cahill was employed with a traffic management company. The couple left Ireland in 2013 to live in Australia on working holiday visas. 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. On Tuesday, Cahill told the court he used to laugh about the offences and bragged about being on an Irish television crime show.
CAHILL HAD STABBED HIM IN THE HEAD BEFORE
The court also heard Cahill had stabbed Mr Walsh in the back of the head 18 months before knifing him again in the fatal attack.
One of the couple's former housemates, UK citizen Isobel Jennings, testified that the couple was arguing on October 3, 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.
Ms Jennings denied that she was lying, when she recalled Cahill saying: "I just wanted to kill him. I just wanted to kill him." Cahill offered a different version of events and argued that Mr Walsh had a knife in his hand and blocked her exit when she tried to leave their bedroom. She said she went to grab the knife but in doing so cut her own hand and then the back of his head.
Ms Williams suggested she was lying because she knew Ms Jennings' evidence was "damning" about her intentionally going downstairs to get the knife and stab Mr Walsh.
"That isn't true," Cahill replied.
Cahill was convicted in April 2016 of reckless wounding for injuring Mr Walsh by throwing a large candlestick at him in November the previous year. She was subsequently placed on a two-year-bond at Waverley Local Court. An AVO was in place to protect Mr Walsh from Cahill at the time of his death.
Cahill will be sentenced on December 12.