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20 May 2022

Mum says Kildare man who stabbed her partner 'deserves second chance'

Incident

Mum says Kildare man who stabbed her partner 'deserves second chance'

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A mother whose son stabbed her partner in the neck in their family home has told the Central Criminal Court that the defendant "deserves a second chance in life" and has her and her partner's full support.

Jonathan Reid, who the court heard suffers with ongoing mental health issues, stabbed Greg Shiels in the neck at the family home in Naas while in a drug-induced psychosis.

After he was originally charged with attempted murder, Reid (28) of Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare, pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Mr Shiels on March 6, 2020.

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Father-of-one Reid also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis on the night and of the production of an article, namely a knife, all at Newhall.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott was read a letter from Reid's mother, who described her son as "deserving of a second chance in life" and pledged her and Mr Shiels' "full support" in his struggle with his mental health issues. She also said that she truly believed that the attack would never have happened without the psychosis.

Detective Garda Christine Brady told Mr Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, that Mr Shiels and Ms Reid had been in a relationship, and while the pair had lost touch Mr Shiels had later returned to Kildare after working around the world.

On March 6, 2020, Ms Reid rang Mr Shiels for assistance at the Reid home and he arrived at 2.30pm. Det Gda Brady said that Reid was coming in and out of his bedroom and, according to Ms Reid, was "not making sense" when talking about going to Dublin.

Ms Reid went to buy her son cigarettes and when she returned Mr Shiels went to get food and brought it back to the house. Soon after Mr Shiels' return, Reid produced a knife and demanded the keys to the car. Det Gda Brady agreed with Mr Greene that Mr Shiels then tried to calm the situation but was struck in the neck by Reid with the four-inch knife.

Mr Greene said that Reid's victim then fell to the floor due to "quite a serious injury" before Reid took the car keys and drove off. Ms Reid then contacted an ambulance and Mr Shiels was taken to Naas General Hospital before being transferred to Tallaght Hospital for surgery.

Reid returned the next day with the car and was detained under the Mental Treatment Act for three days before his arrest.
The detective told Mr Greene that she twice interviewed Reid who blamed drugs and a lack of sleep for his psychosis. She said he had one previous conviction for drink-driving for which he received a fine and two-year ban.

Det Gda Brady said Ms Reid had told her of a psychotic episode experienced by her son prior to the attack and that she had been "very concerned for his wellbeing".

Det Gda Brady agreed with Séamus Clarke SC, defending, that the victim had made a good recovery and did not suffer any swallowing or voice problems as a result of the attack.

Mr Clarke said that his client had gone down a "rabbit hole" with his drug-use and found it hard to discern between what was real and not real when sleep-deprived. Counsel said Reid had spent time in and out of Lakeview Mental Health Unit at Naas General Hospital for a time before the stabbing.

Mr Clarke said that Mr Shiels had observed an episode of psychosis himself in Reid in the summer of 2019 but that there had never been a bad word between them.

Counsel said "very supportive" reports had been handed into the court and that one had been prepared by Professor Keith Rix, a consultant psychiatrist.

Mr Clarke said that Professor Rix reported that Reid had suffered with a drug-induced psychosis on the night and that he still could have been suffering with it when gardaí interviewed him.

"Although it was days later, Prof Rix took the view that he had not fully recovered [when interviewed]," said Mr Clarke.

Mr Greene said that the amounts of cannabis and cocaine Reid pleaded guilty to possessing on the night amounted to personal use and were not for sale or supply.

Mr Clarke said Reid was born in London, returning to Ireland when he was four, and he did not have a relationship with his father. Counsel said his client had left school before completing his Leaving Cert and was the father of a six year-old daughter, adding that Reid had a "civil" relationship with Mr Shiels before the psychosis.

In his letter to the court, Reid said he was "heartbroken" for his mother and Mr Shiels for what had happened and that he hoped to be a contributing member of society and a father to his daughter for whom he "would go above and beyond".

Mr Clarke handed in supporting letters from the mother of Reid's daughter, from the Peter McVerry Trust and from a possible employer, while Mr Shiels chose not to make a victim impact statement.

Mr Justice McDermott adjourned the matter to April 25 to allow for time to consider avenues of suitable post-release programmes for Reid.

At a previous hearing Mr Greene said a nolle prosequi (a decision not to proceed) will be entered by the State on the charge of attempted murder at a later date.

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