UK news ‘I lost everybody that day, even though Dee is still alive’ – Andrew McGinley on the day Deirdre Morley killed his three children last news
MetiNews.Com - On Saturday, for the first time since she took the lives of their three children, Deirdre Morley had a visit from her husband.
Breaking News ! "On Saturday, for the first time since she took the lives of their three children, Deirdre Morley had a visit from her husband. Face to face, within the walls of the Central Mental Hospital, husband and wife confronted an unspeakable shared loss – a father, bereft of three children, at a loss to understand why. A mother about to stand trial accused of murder, pleading not guilty on the basis of insanity.For those on the outside of this case, grappling with the uncomfortable and deeply disturbing details of the deaths of Conor, Darragh and Carla, it is a meeting that may be hard to comprehend. For their father Andrew McGinley, the only person with true insight into a story that poses so many difficult questions, no-one could ever understand what it feels like to be him. January 24, 2020 was the day he lost his three beautiful children. It was also the day he had to learn to live with the fact that it was their mother, someone they loved and trusted, who did the unthinkable.“Myself and Dee were together for 18 years or more,” he told “As much as I still care, and I care what happens to her and that she gets the right treatment, I do feel like I've lost everyone. I know that some people may question that, but I don't think they'll ever understand how difficult and complicated that has become. As I sit here now, I feel I've lost everyone.”***It was January 23, 2020. Andrew, an account manager with catering company Sodexo, was in Cork introducing the managing director of the company to some new clients. It was an overnight work trip and the following day, as he made his way back to the family home in Parson’s Court, Newcastle, Co Dublin, everything was as it always was – “normal”.“I planned to take the kids off to do the grocery shop,” he says.“I was due to arrive back about five o'clock or so. A friend of mine, his father passed away so I went to the wake on the way back.“I had normal conversations with Dee that day, there was nothing out of the ordinary or cause for alarm.”As he made his way back to Dublin, Andrew did not know that his wife had tried, without success, to take the children’s lives the night before by adding medication to their food and drink.Dee, a nurse who specialised in renal care at Crumlin Hospital, had been suffering from mental health issues for some time and was off work on stress leave. Following a breakdown in July 2019, she had extensive dealings with mental health services, including a four-week stay in psychiatric care. While he will not discuss the details of his wife’s private medical history, Andrew says he had a meeting with health services at the time and was given “a very mild diagnosis” in relation to her mental health.“I was brought into that one meeting where I was given what I can only describe as a very mild diagnosis for Dee,” he says.“I was told that with treatment and some medication everything would be fine. So it's difficult for me to think that how did that radically change in those seven months after.”This week, the jury in the case heard that people close to Dee would have been unaware of how rapid her mental deterioration had been. As a qualified nurse, she dealt with many of the details of her treatment and medication herself.On the evening of Friday January 24, as he pulled into the secluded cul-de-sac just off Main Street, Andrew noticed an ambulance and the fire brigade outside his house.“Dee had collapsed outside,” he said.“And it was then… after a few minutes that I thought, where are the kids? I assumed they were with the childminder so I rang her, and when she said that she didn't have them I went running over to the house, opened the door and found the kids inside. After that, It’s honestly a blur. There will never be a harder day.”Conor, Darragh and Carla had been suffocated and were pronounced dead at the scene. Their mother, Dee, who had attempted an overdose and was found unconscious close to the family home by a taxi driver, was taken to Tallaght hospital for treatment. She was later arrested and charged with murder.“The 24th of January was such a brutal day, that’s the word I use to describe it – brutal,” he says.“I feel I lost everybody that day, even though Dee is still alive. I’m hoping that with the care that she's now getting... that she's probably, personality-wise, the person that she was before."But, I feel I've lost everyone. It's difficult and it will be a struggle for the rest of my days to understand. They were our kids. I know Dee loved them, but she just wasn't well and I can't explain it. I will never be able to explain it.”***Even now, looking back, there were no obvious signs of what was to come. Conor, Darragh and Carla were happy children, equally adored by both their father and mother.As parents, Andrew and Dee’s lives revolved around the happiness of their children. There were family holidays, day trips and countless shared memories. Deirdre Morley, described as a “devoted and loving mother” by her husband, would get quite down and go through dark periods, but with the full support of her husband and wider family, she always managed to rally on. According to Andrew, she never talked about harming herself, or her children.“It wasn't outwardly displayed to us much [how sick she was] I would have to say,” says Mr McGinley.“There was a couple of times where we had cause for concern but whether it was going to the GP or going into the mental health services, she seemed to recover."She would be quite down or whatever, so we would be concerned about the changes in the medication while they were working through her treatment. Sometimes you might think whether it was an adverse reaction to a particular medication, or the right level of medication hadn’t been found yet.”For Mr McGinley, the diagnosis Dee was given prior to the children’s death, and her diagnosis after, leaves him with many unanswered questions. He says that her GP “queried” her diagnosis in November 2019, but he does not know what actions were taken as a result.
.“From the GP writing and querying the initial diagnosis at the end of November 2019, to two months later, Conor, Darragh and Carla losing their lives, what happened in between that time is not clear to me,” he says.“I don't have any answers for that. From where I am sitting, there seems to be a combination of administrative red tape and decisions being left to the patient, whose decision making was possibly or probably impacted by their mental health illness.”As in many cases involving a family member who is being treated for a mental health issue, much of the detail of what is going on remains private, between medical professional and the patient. Under the Mental Heath Act, there is a provision for the patient to be encouraged to have an advocate.“I would like to have thought that I could have been that advocate,” he says.“Then I would have been up to speed or been fully aware directly from the mental health services treating Dee in relation to her treatment or medication, because I can see that Dee didn't want me to know how bad she was or the full extent of what she was going through."And again, I suppose I thought that Dee was in the hands of the professionals. So, my focus was on the kids and to keep life as normal as possible for the children.”Effectively a bystander, he was left on the outside of his wife’s treatment. In the wake of his children’s deaths, he now wants answers from the HSE.“I have questions and I need answers,” says Mr McGinley.“The only people who can give me the answers are the people who were treating Dee. I have heard nothing from them. They were happy enough to bring me into a meeting in July 2019, but there’s been absolute silence since. I'm hoping that the HSE will engage with us as a family in a collaborative approach to review the months preceding the children dying.”Against the backdrop of trying to understand the why of what happened, the physical loss of Conor, Darragh and Carla weighs heavily.“It’s been devastating,” he says.“Darragh’s birthday was the first birthday after they died and that was tough. Then it was Conor’s birthday and then my own birthday, but Father's Day was probably the worst day. Even though I spent it with friends it was just… after Father's Day I was just thinking I’ll not make it through Christmas.”Quietly, he acknowledges their mother’s loss too. This is an emotionally-charged story, with the deaths of three innocent children at the core, but it is his to tell.“I’ve seen a lot of vitriol towards Dee, mainly on Facebook,” he says.“Obviously it’s coming from people who don’t know and don’t understand. They can have their opinion, but there is a lot of hate. What I would ask is for people to understand before they type.”In the tidal wave of grief over the loss of Conor, Darragh and Carla, a swell that has engulfed family, friends and the wider community, there are only “two people” who know the same pain, says Mr McGinley.“We were together for 18 years and I know that Dee loved the kids,” he says.“She wasn't well. I think that it’s important to know that she was a good mother and she loved them.”***The silence is there, every day, a constant reminder that they are gone. There are no more noisy playdates, no more joyous laughs or raucous playfights – a lifetime of family chatter, forever muted. In the place they once lived together as a family, Andrew McGinley now lives alone. He switches on the TV, or the radio, just to fill the silence.“I have more happy memories here than sad ones,” he says.“I know the children wouldn’t want me to be sad and that’s my mantra. That’s what is keeping me going.”The children are on his mind, he says, from the minute he wakes up until he eventually finds sleep. A recent visit to a medium brought him comfort that “they are all together”, but there is no bringing them back and no escaping the pain. However, there is a reason for speaking out.Sadly, what happened in 42 Parson’s Court is not an isolated event. More than ten years ago, mere months after his first son Conor was born, Andrew read Una Butler’s story. Her husband John, who had been receiving treatment for depression, took his own life after he killed daughters Ella (2) and Zoe (6) in the family home, in Ballycotton, Co Cork, on November 16, 2010.“I read about Una’s case back in 2010,” he says.“But because it doesn't impact you, you read about it and you say, ‘That poor woman, that poor family, those poor girls’. The next day people will read about this in the paper and the following day they probably won’t remember the kids’ names."I know Una campaigned long and hard at the time (to have the Mental Health Act altered to allow families to have a bigger say when someone is struggling with their mental health), but nothing seems to have changed in 10 years and here we are, sitting here. Unless something directly impacts your life, you are somewhat removed from it.”Today, he is in the thick of it, but he hopes that his own story might make a difference in the lives of other families in trouble, other relationships racked by mental illness, other parents who just can't take it anymore. Light from darkness; hope from hurt.“I want this to be the last interview you ever have to do with somebody like me,” says Mr McGinley. “I don’t want this to ever happen to any other family.”***If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 (standard rates apply) or email email@example.com. Support is also offered by Aware (1800 80 48 48) and Pieta House (1800 247 247)."
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