Father whose wife killed three children is haunted by son's last words

‘Stop, Mammy, what are you doing?’ Irish father whose wife killed their three children while suffering from depression says he is haunted by son’s last words

  • Deirdre Morley smothered children Conor, Darragh and Carla to death in 2020
  • The nurse, 44, was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity 
  • Andrew McGinley says he is haunted by his son’s final words begging her to stop 

A grieving father whose wife killed their three children while suffering from depression has revealed he is still haunted by his son’s final words.

Deirdre Morley, 44, smothered Conor, nine, Darragh, seven and Carla, three, to death at their Dublin home in January 2020.

Their father Andrew McGinley says there is ‘no future’ with his wife who was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, and was remanded to the Central Mental Hospital.

He said he cannot stop hearing the final words of Conor who cried ‘stop mammy, what are you doing?’ as she placed a bag on his head, Morley told police in an interview after the killings.  

Mr McGinley. who worked for a workplace services company, told the Irish Mirror: ‘With regards to Deirdre, I struggle a lot because all I really hear is Conor’s last words. They resound in my head quite a lot.

Deirdre Morley, 44, killed her three children Conor McGinley, nine, Darragh McGinley, seven, and daughter Carla McGinley, three, by smothering them at their home in January 2020

The children’s bodies were discovered by their father Andrew McGinley at their home in Parson’s Court, Newcastle, Co Dublin

‘So, there is no future I suppose, with myself and Dee. It can never be normal again for either of us.’

He added: ‘I know I’ve changed as a person completely. If I can help her treatment team or her legal team in any way I’m happy to do so and she knows that as well.

‘[If she is released], that’s their decision. I’m not the professional. It’s not something I’ve given any detailed thought to. But I think there’s a road to recovery for her.’

It is understood Morley could be released after only five years if doctors declare her mentally well.

Giving a eulogy at his children’s funeral, Mr McGinley said his children had been fans of Lego, the Foo Fighters and the Disney film Frozen (pictured, Mr McGinley and his three children) 

Morley, who worked as a nurse, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity during her trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, Ireland – a view supported by two consultant psychiatrists, one for the defence and one for the prosecution.  

The court heard how Morley had a severe psychotic depressive illness. She was suffering bipolar affective disorder type two, a recognised mental disorder. 

She had previously suffered a breakdown in July 2019 and spent four weeks in a psychiatric hospital.   

The tragic triple killing took place on January 24 2020 in Dublin, Ireland, when Morley had slipped into a state of delusion and psychosis.

Before suffocating them, she had tried to sedate them, wanting to die and take her children with her, the court heard.

The night before the tragedy, she put morphine in the boys’ cereal and Carla’s bottle but they spat it out.

The following day, she first killed Darragh, who was at home from school because he was ill.

Andrew McGinley looks to the skies during the funeral of his children

In interviews with gardaí, she said she could recall thinking: ‘I could smother him now. I could kill him now.’

She said she immediately regretted killing Darragh and wanted to stop, but felt she couldn’t as she ‘couldn’t leave any of them behind’.

After suffocating Darragh and Carla using tape and plastic bags, she collected Conor from school.

He was watching Jurassic World in a play tent back home when she approached him with the bag and tape.

She suggested playing a game where they put tape on their mouths and try to speak.

When she put the bag on his head, he said: ‘Stop mammy, what are you doing?’ but she replied, I’m sorry Conor.’

Morley told police he had not struggled as she was lying on top of him.

At one stage she said she thought, ‘I can’t do this. This is awful. But also that I can’t not do this’ because Conor’s siblings were already dead.

The mother was unable to carry his body upstairs to lie next to his younger brother and sister.

Throughout the day, she spoke to her husband on the phone and he said he had no suspicions about her wellbeing or her behaviour.

Morley then decided to take her own life, and drove towards the M7 with a bottle of wine and medication in the car before she crashed at a roundabout.

She was brought home by a passing nurse before she left the house again and was found by a taxi driver ‘wandering the streets’ in a ‘disoriented state’.

Andrew has since launched Conor’s Clips, a website featuring a compilation of videos to celebrate the lives of his children. This sweet video shows Darragh and Carla recreate a classic scene from The Lion King

The driver took her home and called an ambulance out of concern, as Mr McGinley returned from a work trip to Cork to find the bodies of his three children.

He also found a note warning not to go upstairs, saying ‘I’m sorry’. 

Morley was taken to Tallaght University Hospital in Dublin where she later told medics she ‘wished she had a time machine’, the court heard. 

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said there was no contest about the verdict and previously told the jury: ‘The doctors are unanimous in their opinions that the accused was legally insane when she killed her three children.’

The jury of ten men and two women were told they must be satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Ms Morley was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killings. 

The jury found her not guilty on all three charges on the grounds of insanity.  

Shortly after Connor, Darragha and Carla were found dead, Mr McGinley told parents to ‘cuddle your children whenever you can’ and admitted ‘every breath is a struggle’.

He said at the time: ‘There are no words. There is only devastation, grief and anguish. Every breath is a struggle.

‘Conor, Darragh and Carla are adored. They all had beautiful, bright futures ahead of them with family, friends and a community who love them.

‘To all parents, cuddle your children whenever you get a chance, tell them how much you love them as often as you can, spend every spare minute with them reading, playing and enjoying their wonderfulness.

‘The future has now become our enemy but we will battle it every day to keep the memory of Conor, Darragh and Carla alive.’

Giving a eulogy at his children’s funeral, he also said his children had been fans of Lego, the Foo Fighters and the Disney film Frozen. 

He went on: ‘We often misuse words. When Ireland would lose a match, I used to say I was heartbroken. I now know what that really means.

‘We, as a family, are heartbroken.’ 

He added: ‘Conor, Darragh and Carla. I love you, I love you, I love you.’ 

Rathcoole Boys Football Club provided a guard of honour outside in recognition of the boys’ love for the sport. 

Mr McGinley has since started a YouTube channel after making a promise to Conor before he died.

At the eulogy, he said he had also promised to coach at Rathcoole Boys FC for Darragh, and to build a snowman for Carla. 

He launched Conor’s Clips, a website featuring a compilation of videos to celebrate the lives of his children.

Andrew took to Twitter revealing that he’s misses having company, in a candid appeal to receive letters from the public 

Writing on his fundraising page, he explained: ‘After an emotional day I’m able to let you all know that I have been able to keep my promise to Conor and we launched his YouTube channel this afternoon. 

‘A mix of happiness and sadness as so happy to have kept my promise but wish I could have done it with Conor.

‘One promise down, two to go. Darragh, my course is booked for March 19th so I’m on track to keep my promise to you. Carla, I may have to borrow a snow machine!’

Andrew thanked those who have donated to the fundraiser, set up by a member of the Newcastle Community, and said he has been working his way through their ‘beautiful messages’.

‘I’m honestly humbled by all your messages and the sentiments within,’ he added. ‘What you may not realise is how much your messages mean to me and I thank you all.’

On the YouTube channel, Andrew told how Conor announced last Christmas that he wanted to set up a YouTube channel.

‘I promised to help him to do that,’ he wrote. ‘I hope this channel has kept my promise.’ 

The series of sweet clips show the three children getting up to mischief at ‘sleepy time’, reenacting a scene from the Lion King in their garden and playing charades.

Three-year-old Carla, a huge fan of Frozen, is transfixed by festive snowmen in one video, while her brother Darragh tries his hand at news broadcasting in another.

In another, Conor puts Darragh ‘on trial’ for breaking his Megazoid toy, and one shows cute Carla join her dad in singing along to Everlong by Foo Fighters in the car.

In his introduction to the clips, Andrew speaks to camera, explaining: ‘This channel is an attempt by me to keep a promise I made to Conor.

Three-year-old Carla, a huge fan of Frozen, is transfixed by festive snowmen in one video

Darragh tries his hand at news broadcasting in another clip, where he delivers a spoof report about Superman

‘Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley died tragically on January 24, and we hope to keep their memories alive through this channel.

‘Quite what Conor had planned for this channel was not finalised, so all we have are clips of the three of them as they lived their lives.

‘Our message is that Conor, Darragh and Carla grew up in our community with the support of staff in the schools, creches, community clubs and sports clubs.

‘Let us not forget the volunteers that are also involved and the fundraising efforts that are needed to ensure these thrive so they are able to invest in the future of our children.

‘As well as supporting global charities, do not forget your local community needs, as this is where our children will grow and develop to become capable citizens of this earth. So your help locally will enable that.

Andrew told how the family has ‘always loved a game of charades’; in this clip, Darragh acts out one of his favourite programmes

The series of sweet clips show the three children getting up to mischief at ‘sleepy time’ (pictured)

‘Enjoy these videos. Subscribing, liking and sharing will help us support the message of the importance of supporting locally across the globe. Thank you for listening and enjoy Conor’s Clips.’

The grieving father later asked the public to write him letters after struggling to ‘cope without company’ during lockdown.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m looking for a favour. I’m struggling with isolation like you all but really missing the company. I was also enjoying most of the letters that I received so I have a request. Can you write to me? If you feel like using one of postcards then great. Letters welcome.’ 

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