A man who strangled and beat his on-off partner to death during a psychotic episode that may have been triggered or exacerbated by drug use has been jailed for 14 years and must undergo five years of post-release supervision and psychiatric care.
Mr Justice Paul Burns on Monday passed sentence on Richard Burke who was found not guilty of murdering Jasmine McMonagle but guilty of her manslaughter earlier this year. The court heard that his responsibility for the killing was substantially diminished by a mental disorder. One of the doctors noted that the disorder “may have been triggered or exacerbated” by drug use.
Mr Justice Burns said that despite his condition, Burke knew that what he was doing was wrong, understood the nature of what he was doing and he could have stopped himself.
He said that Burke “must bear a considerable degree of responsibility” for the crime. The judge noted the level of violence used against a defenceless woman that included the use of weapons and the fact she was at home with her two children at the time. He also factored in Burke’s level of premeditation and that he had previously expressed an intention to kill his victim.
Mr Justice Burns said that Burke’s condition was impacted by drug and alcohol use which he “deliberately” partook in while failing to comply with his medication. In mitigation, he noted that Burke had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and in garda interviews expressed “remorse, shame, self-hate and disgust” for what he had done.
He imposed a sentence of 15 years with the final year suspended for five years. Prior to his release, Burke must undergo a psychiatric assessment and must comply with the medical regime put in place by doctors. He must also comply with all requirements of the probation service or he will serve the final year of the sentence.
Jasmine McMonagle, (28) was found in a pool of blood in the kitchen of her home following a three-hour standoff between Burke and gardaí.
Not guilty plea
Burke (32), of Killygordon, Co Donegal, had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms McMonagle at Forest Park, Killygordon on January 4th, 2019 but guilty to manslaughter.
At Burke’s trial, sitting in Monaghan earlier this year, two psychiatrists agreed that Burke was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing which substantially diminished his responsibility.
The jury of seven women and five men had been told by Mr Justice Paul Burns that all the evidence in Burke’s trial pointed to a manslaughter verdict and the jury took just over one hour to agree, with a unanimous decision.
Tributes paid to woman who died after being hit by…
At a sentencing hearing in April, the victim’s mother Jacqueline McMonagle said that January 4th, 2019 was the day “my world fell apart”, when Jasmine’s life and future were “horrifically taken from her” by Burke.
Jasmine’s mother became emotional as she told the court the family had all been given a life sentence of suffering and pain. She said Jasmine was a “kind and generous” person who adored and lived for her two girls.
She told the court Jasmine had always loved spending time with her family and Christmas was a special time for them but the holiday “means nothing to me any more”.
Now Jasmine’s daughters spend Christmas at their mother’s grave.