Man who beheaded mum not fit to leave Carstairs

James Dunleavy. Picture: Police Scotland
James Dunleavy. Picture: Police Scotland
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A JUDGE has ordered that a man who beheaded his mother should remain in a top security psychiatric hospital for the foreseeable future.

James Dunleavy, 41, believes he is fit to leave Carstairs and should be sent to serve a sentence in a mainstream Scottish prison.

He also claimed he could not find a good chess opponent at the institution.

A trial heard harrowing evidence that Philomena Dunleavy, 66, from Dublin, may still have been alive when Dunleavy began hacking off her legs with a knife and saw in his Edinburgh flat.

Mrs Dunleavy’s remains were found weeks later, buried in a shallow grave on the city’s Corstorphine Hill.

Today Lord Jones ordered Dunleavy to continue to be held at Carstairs following a five minutes long hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He made the order after receiving reports from medical staff stating that Dunleavy suffered from mental illness and wasn’t suitable to be placed into a mainstream jail.

Dunleavy will now be held at the Lanarkshire facility until a hearing which will be held at the High Court early next year.

Lord Jones added: “I will order for the interim compulsion order to be continued.”

Labourer Dunleavy, who worked on Edinburgh’s trams project, originally denied murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice by burying her to try to cover up the crime at his trial earlier this year.

A jury convicted him, by majority, of a reduced charge of culpable homicide. They also found him guilty of the attempted cover-up between April and July last year.

Mrs Dunleavy, a mother-of-five, had left her Dublin home in early April last year and arrived in Scotland on April 24 to visit her eldest son.

Prosecutors alleged that days later she was dead, butchered in Dunleavy’s flat in Balgreen Road, Edinburgh.

Medics could not tell how she died. Injuries to her head, smashed ribs and damage to small bones in her neck, often linked to strangulation, could have been sustained after her death.

Prosecution lawyer Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, warned the jury that “loose ends” and unanswered questions would remain.

It was more than a month before Mrs Dunleavy’s remains were unearthed, just a few minutes walk away from her son’s address.

A large suitcase was missing from the flat and a spade with a broken shaft was found in the back green.

Police were at a loss trying to identify the body until CT scans of Mrs Dunleavy’s skull, combined with computer technology, enabled Dundee University’s craniofacial expert Dr Caroline Wilkinson to produce a likeness of the dead woman.

Three psychiatrists told the trial that Dunleavy clearly had problems, although it was too early to say exactly what it was. Paranoid schizophrenia was suggested as a possibility.

Dunleavy, giving evidence, insisted the doctors were wrong. “I think the gravity of the crime I am accused of may have coloured their perception. They are entitled to their opinion.”

By that time, Dunleavy had already been sent to the State Hospital, Carstairs.

After the jury verdicts, judge Lord Jones ordered he should stay there while psychiatrists continued to assess his condition.

Dunleavy returned to court earlier this year for the judge to decide the next move, which could be be an indefinite stay in the State Hospital.

Lord Jones will next assess whether Dunleavy should be sent to a Scottish prison on January 7 2015.