A man who allegedly killed his elderly mother because he could no longer “carry the cross” of caring for her and then attempted suicide cannot be safely released from custody for her funeral, a High Court judge ruled today.
Order Judge Maguire dismissed Barry Noon’s appeal against a compassionate bail denial after hearing he tried to kill himself in a Cookstown, County Tyrone home he shared with 77-year-old Margaret Una Noon.
Referring to concerns about the “unstable” mental state of the 45-year-old defendant, he said: “It only needs to be emphasized that the applicant was not able to commit suicide in the first hours after the death of his mother.
“It is for this main reason that I feel compelled to deny the application for compassionate bail.”
Police found Mrs. Noon’s body in her bed at the Ratin Avenue property last Sunday morning, with a rosary apparently carefully placed in her hands.
Her 45-year-old son was in another bedroom, apparently having taken up to 30 pills a few hours earlier.
The officers went to the address after Noon allegedly contacted emergency services to say he had done something to his mother.
In another call to the Lincolnshire Police, a man living in England said he had received a two-page suicide letter from his friend Barry, who lives with his mother in Cookstown.
Prosecution attorney Sarah Minford told the court, “It said he killed his mother and overdosed.”
When the officers arrived at the hotel, the blinds were closed, but upon entering through the unlocked front door, they found a notepad on a table in the lobby.
It had a message written on it: “Please do not enter. Call the police. I’m sorry, Barry.”
The searches resulted in Noone being found under the sheets in an upstairs bed, apparently under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
His elderly mother was found in another room, lying on her back in bed and showing no signs of life, the court heard.
She had bruises on the side of her face and neck.
According to Ms Minford, when asked at the scene what happened to his mother, Noon paused and then replied, “I killed her.”
He also stated that he took 25-30 diazepam tablets around 3 am on Sunday and did not expect to wake up.
Upon further examination of the notebook, a letter, presumably signed by the defendant, was found stating that he could no longer take anything.
No one who has lived in London for 20 years has described the traumatic experience of caring for their mother since returning in April and then having to isolate in their bedroom after contracting Covid on June 12.
The court was told that he again fell into a deep depression and lost the will to live.
He stated that his mother was on psychiatric drugs for a long time, but he could not continue or leave her to endure her struggles alone.
“Her crosses became his crosses and he could no longer wear them,” Ms Minford added.
In a prepared statement later provided to police, Noon said, “I agree that my actions caused my mother’s death.”
He described how they had a close, loving relationship, but both had mental health issues.
In arguing against the defendant’s petition for compassion bail, the prosecutor cited concerns about his own suicidal thoughts and the potential reaction of the wider family to the funeral.
“It could cause serious distress and potential distress,” she suggested.
Fintan McAleer, a defense lawyer, told the court that no one cared for his mother during her cancer treatment and while recovering from two separate hip surgeries.
The lawyer insisted that his client could be safely released for a temporary period while he was accompanied by an uncle and a deacon from prison.
“The position of this man is simply that he loved his mother and wants to attend her funeral,” McAleer added.
But Lord Justice Maguire observed: “The extreme difficulty of the task of caring for this mother appears to have been a factor in his actions leading to his mother’s death, and it seems certain that the applicant’s plan was that, after his mother’s death, commit suicide.
“There appears to be a real possibility that the applicant is suffering from a serious mental illness and is in an unstable mental state.”
With no prospect of Noon being escorted by the police or prison guards, he explained, “It therefore remains to be assumed that the good of others around him will be sufficient to give the court confidence that he himself will not harm himself if he is released due to his current mental state.”