One of three men charged with the murder of an Irish teenager, who died in Australia after he fell from an apartment balcony in an alleged armed robbery, told a court on Friday that he “was losing his mind”.
Hayden Paul Kratzmann (21) reappeared at Southport Magistrates Court in Queensland on Friday, along with co-accused Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas (19), over the death of 19-year-old Cian English in 2020.
Mr English, originally from Carlow town, but who lived in the Brisbane suburb of Hawthorne, suffered traumatic injuries when he fell from a fourth floor balcony at the View Pacific resort in Surfers Paradise in the early hours of Saturday, May 23rd last year during an alleged robbery.
He fell to his death when he was allegedly being robbed at knife point following an apartment party where it is alleged the three men were high on prescription drugs. Mr English attempted to escape but tragically fell from the fourth floor balcony.
According to reports, the court heard when Mr Kratzmann was told he was being questioned over Mr English's murder, he said to police: “I'm f***ing losing my mind, I've been off my medication for a few days”.
The judge was informed in evidence that the accused told police he suffered from schizophrenia and had not taken his medication for five days.
Defence barrister Tim Ryan asked the police officers involved why they continued the interview with the man, who appeared angry or had impaired capacity.
Both detectives present during the interview said they believed Mr Kratzmann had the mental capacity to be interviewed.
“At the time we were asking the questions, I was satisfied the defendant was not under the influence of any drugs and was not suffering from any mental health issues,” Detective Senior Constable Jason Sheldon said.
Senior Constable Shane Fry said he believed the phrase “losing my mind” was a “figure of speech”. “I didn't believe your client's capacity was impaired,” he added.
The committal hearings for both men were adjourned until February 15th.
Mr Soper-Logas has no criminal history but was ordered to continue with drug testing and rehabilitation. Some of his increased bail conditions include reporting to police daily and wearing a GPS tracker.
Meanwhile, a third man, Jason Ryan Knowles (22) who is also charged with Mr English’s murder, is to appear before Queensland’s Supreme Court on December 3rd where a jury of 12 people is expected to be empanelled.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Attorney General in Queensland said: “The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has had six months to prepare the indictment against Knowles and this will be presented to Queensland Supreme Court on December 3rd.”
Two female minors, whose names have not been released for legal reasons, are also charged with the teenager’s murder. Police allege that the two girls filmed the beating, stabbing and fatal fall of Mr English, subsequently posting a video of the events on social media.
All five, who have appeared in court on several occasions since their arrests in June last year, are also charged with stealing, robbery, torture and deprivation of liberty.
Police allege the men went to Mr English's apartment and held a knife to his throat as they demanded he and his friend hand over their phones and clothing.
When the duo refused, the group allegedly began beating Mr English’s friend and he stepped in to help. When stabbed, Mr English allegedly fled for his life, leading to his fatal fall from the apartment balcony.
The Irish teenager was living with his parents, Siobhan and Vinny, and older brother Dylan. The family left Ireland 17 years ago, first to the Caribbean where Cian’s father worked for Digicel, and then settled in Brisbane in 2011.
His ashes were laid to rest in St Mary’s cemetery, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, last year.