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Online.ie 24 Jan 2003
A Somalian man today admitted holding his baby son by the feet and hitting his head off a wall after evil spirits told him to "hit him, hit him."
Yusif Ali Abdi told the Central Criminal Court that he took 20-month old Nathan from his bed and killed him as the evil spirit 'Jinn' was telling him to "take him, take him, and take him."
As the accused told the court how he killed Nathan, the toddler's mother Ms Amanda Bailey - Mr. Abdi's estranged wife - broke down and had to be helped from the courtroom.
Mr. Abdi said he felt he was "possessed" when he heard the voices. Questioned by defense counsel Mr. Tom O'Connell SC he said: "I was like in somebodyís else's body and I was just following the order...with the voice."
Asked with what he felt possessed, the accused replied: "By the spirit." He said the spirit; known by the Arabic name of "Jinn" was an evil spirit. He heard voices saying "hit him, hit him."
The accused, a Muslim, said he awoke at around 4am on the day of the killing for early Morning Prayer. After he heard the voices he went into the bedroom, where Nathan was sleeping beside his mother, and took him into the kitchen. "I was holding him with [my] hands on the [child's] feet."
The accused was handed photographs of the apartment and he identified a wall near the cooker where he had swung the child.
The court has heard medical evidence that Nathan died from gross brain damage and multiple fractures of the skull caused by severe violent impact.
The accused told the court he experienced paranoia and depression since arriving in Ireland from Somalia in June 1996. He had suffered persecution in Somalia and members of his family had been killed there.
The jury heard that he was seen by GPs and by the psychiatric services at Mater Hospital.
He agreed with Mr. O'Connell that he had given the gardai a false account of the killing when he claimed it was an accident. He was afraid of the gardai following an incident in November 1999 for which he was convicted of assaulting a police officer.
Mr Abdi told the court he was "still afraid of the garda."
Asked how he felt after killing Nathan, he said he panicked. Then he felt "a blanket of cold over me" and the voices stopped.
Cross-examined by Mr. Michael Durack SC prosecuting, he said he had heard the same voices many times prior to the killing but agreed he had not mentioned it to any of the psychiatrists.
Mr. Durack quoted from a report from Dr Sheehan, psychiatrist with the Mater Hospital stating that while the accused had displayed some features of post traumatic stress, he found "no evidence that of a depressive illness or psychosis." This related to the period of November 1999 to February 2000.
Asked why he never told Dr Sheehan about the voices he replied: "at the time I did not see the voices as a problem."
Mr. Durack then put it to the accused that a report from Dr Lynch, a GP, described the accused "as essentially normal." This was dated 6 April 2001, 11 days before the killing.
"I wasn't feeling normal" the accused replied.
"Did you ever tell your wife about the voices?"
"No" he replied.
Mr. Abdi agreed that when he had taken Nathan into the kitchen he had locked the living room door and his wife, Ms Amanda Bailey could not get in.
The accused said he could not remember if he and his wife had discussed custody of Nathan on the evening of the killing.
Asked what he did after he killed the child he replied: "I think I prayed."
Asked if he could hear his wife "hammering on the door" he said he did but he could not walk or talk while praying.
"Your child is seriously ill on the floor, your wife is knocking on the door, are you telling us that you it's not permissible to interrupt your prayer to deal with that?" asked Mr. Durack.
"That's right," the accused replied.
The jury was told that Mr. Abdi was detained initially in Cloverhill Prison but tried to injure himself twice. They also heard that he is currently detained in the Central Mental Hospital.
Mr. Durack put it to the accused that he was moved to the Central Mental Hospital after an incident with a prison warder.
"Did you bite a prison officer?" Mr. Durack enquired, to which the accused replied: "I fought back."
He claimed the prison oficer had shouted racist abuse at him.
"So you bit him?"
"I might have," he replied.
Yusif Ali Abdi, (aged 30) with an address at The Elms, College Road, Clane co Kildare, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Nathan Ali Abdi at College Road, Clane on 17 April 2001.
The trial continues on Monday.