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Jail for Irish backpacker who stabbed fiance to death at Sydney unit

Irish backpacker, 27, who stabbed her abusive tradie fiancé, 29, to death at their Sydney apartment is jailed for five years

  • Irish woman jailed for at least five years for stabbing her fiance to death in 2017
  • Cathrina ‘Tina’ Cahill, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh, 29
  • Earliest release date is February 2022 when she will be deported to Ireland

 An Irish woman who was in a volatile relationship involving aggression on both sides has been jailed for at least five years for stabbing her fiance to death in Sydney.

Cathrina ‘Tina’ Cahill, 27, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh, 29, who she stabbed once in the neck in the early hours of February 18, 2017, at the Padstow home they shared with two other Irish nationals in Sydney’s south-west. 

She was originally charged with murder, but her manslaughter plea was based on substantial impairment due to an abnormality of the mind.

Cathrina ‘Tina’ Cahill, 27, (pictured in October) was jailed for at least five years on Wednesday

In the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday, Justice Peter Johnson jailed her for eight years with a non-parole period of five years.

‘I am satisfied the psychiatric evidence supports the existence of significant depression on the part of the offender at the time of the killing which arose from the unusual and abusive relationship with Mr Walsh,’ Justice Johnson said.

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Her earliest release date will be in February 2022 when she is expected to be deported to Ireland.

Mr Walsh’s death was just five weeks after Cahill accepted his marriage proposal on New Years Eve in 2016. 

The fatal attack occurred when an intoxicated Mr Walsh launched an unprovoked attack on Mathew Hyde, who had been invited into the home by Cahill and the two other female housemates after they met him at the pub.

In handing down his sentencing, the judge observed that Cahill’s proposed marriage to Walsh (left) was ‘doomed to fail’

Cahill, who also had been drinking, tried to stop the attack, before she took out a ‘large, very sharp’ knife from the cutlery drawer and stabbed him.

Another housemate had repeatedly told her to put the knife back, but Cahill said: ‘No, he needs to be taught a lesson, it’s not fair, look at poor Mathew’.

At the time, she was on a good behaviour bond and the subject of an apprehended violence order issued to protect Mr Walsh, after she was convicted of recklessly wounding him with a glass candle holder in 2015.

Cahill (left) pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of David Walsh (right) in 2017, just five weeks after he proposed to on New Years Eve in 2016

 Prosecutors noted in court last month that Cahill told police in September 2015, after an AVO was issued against Mr Walsh to protect her, that she held no fears against him.

‘I was in fear of getting in more trouble from David if I told the truth,’ she said.

‘He would be making me dinner, buying me flowers, buying me a teddy bear but after two to three weeks it would go back to the way it was.’

She agreed with Justice Johnson that her evidence revealed they had a ‘pretty stormy relationship’ and that Mr Walsh might be seen to be a ‘controlling and fairly unpleasant person’.

But she said she stayed with him as ‘I loved him very dearly’ and he did have some good features.

Cahill gave evidence about his repeated violence, including punching strangers and biting her all over her body, his accusations of her sleeping with other men and his deleting texts from her phone.

The judge accepted her account of Mr Walsh’s controlling and demeaning conduct, observing their marriage was ‘doomed to fail’.

Rita and Daniel Cahill leave court after their daughter was jailed for at least five years

Father of four David Walsh (pictured) was killed by his fiancee at their Sydney home in 2017


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