Teenage boy on trial for murder of mother-of-two in Dublin city centre

Urantsetseg Tserendorj died at the Mater Hospital two weeks after she was stabbed
Teenage boy on trial for murder of mother-of-two in Dublin city centre

Fiona Magennis

A teenage boy took a knife and "went for the jugular" when he stabbed a mother of two as she walked home from work in Dublin city centre, a prosecution barrister has told the Central Criminal Court.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, has gone on trial charged with murdering Mongolian national Urantsetseg Tserendorj in January 2021.

The teen has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Tserendorj but guilty to her manslaughter on January 29th, 2021.

He has also pleaded guilty to producing a knife and to attempting to rob Ms Tserendorj on a walkway between George’s Dock and Custom House Quay in the IFSC, Dublin on January 20th, 2021.

The plea of manslaughter was not accepted by the State.

Sean Guerin SC opened the case for the State on Tuesday morning.

Mr Guerin told the jury of six men and six women that the boy, who was 14 at the time of the offence, accepts that he killed the deceased but denies that he murdered her.

Counsel said the facts of this case, the prosecution would contend, are simple – this was an attack on an unarmed woman, who did not react and who never demonstrated any act of violence towards the accused.

The teenager simply made a decision to take a knife, to swing it at the head and neck area and to stab Ms Tserendorj, Mr Guerin said.

"In common parlance, he took a knife and he went for the jugular".

He told the jury that if the prosecution does not convince them of that then they must decide that the accused is guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder.

CCTV footage

He said the jury would view CCTV footage showing the movements of Ms Tserendorj and the accused before and after the stabbing that caused her death on January 20th.

Mr Guerin said they would also hear that the following day, January 21st, members of the gardaí attended the premises where the accused was living and while there he made admissions that he had stabbed and robbed Ms Tserendorj.

"The admission of responsibility for the killing happened at a very early stage," counsel said.

The accused told gardaí he panicked, he pulled a knife out of his pocket and stabbed her in the neck.

The jury would hear that the accused told gardaí he didn't mean to do it, Mr Guerin added.

Outlining the facts of the case, counsel said the deceased woman was a Mongolian national who was 49 at the time of her death.

Ms Tserendorj, who worked in Dublin's city centre, had moved to Ireland with her husband and two children approximately 15 years before she was killed.

Counsel said it was when she was on her way home from work on January 20th, 2021 that the events occurred which led to her death.

The events unfolded at around 9.30pm, Mr Guerin said, on what was a dark winter's night.

The streets were particularly quiet because the country was in the midst of the Covid experience and there were very few people around.

Phone call

Just after 9.30pm Ms Tserendorj's husband was at home when he received a call from his wife who was in some distress.

He left home and met her at a taxi rank near the Luas line at Connolly Station.

When he met her she was holding the right side of her neck and there was a taxi driver there who provided some assistance.

It was apparent she had a wound on her neck just under her right ear and initially it didn't appear particularly serious, counsel told the jury.

She had been able to make her way along the Quays and was upright and able to converse when her husband met her.

However, when Ms Tserendorj got into the ambulance her condition deteriorated quickly and she had trouble swallowing tablets which had been given to her.

She became increasingly distressed and had trouble breathing, Mr Guerin said.

By the time she got to the Mater Hospital her face had become purple-ish in colour and her eyes were closed.

He told the jury Ms Tserendorj was transferred to theatre immediately where it was discovered that the injury she sustained had penetrated her carotid artery.

As a result of this, the blood supply to the brain was halted, he said, causing swelling on the brain.

Life support

He said despite emergency surgery and the best efforts of the medical teams involved, it wasn't possible to save her and following a series of medical tests on January 29th, Ms Tserendorj was declared dead.

In order to facilitate family travelling to Ireland from abroad, she was kept on life support until February 3rd.

Counsel told the jury they would hear evidence from Pathologist Heidi Okkers that Ms Tserendorj had sustained a neck wound just below the ear which produced severe hypoxia causing death.

Mr Guerin said the jury would also hear that on January 21st, members of the gardaí attended the premises where the accused was living and while there he made admissions that he had stabbed and robbed Ms Tserendorj.

Counsel said essentially what this case is about is what was the accused persons state of mind at the time of the attempted robbery and the stabbing.

Because in this case the facts are admitted, the jury's focus will be on the guilty mind and the question of whether or not the prosecution has proved the guilty mind, counsel said.

Counsel said that an obvious feature of this case is that the accused is a young person.

However, Mr Guerin told the jury they should understand that he is old enough to be responsible in law for his actions and it was for them to assess his state of mind at that particular time.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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