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Son with Autism Accused of Murdering Mother Autism Advocate Susan Dunne in Ireland

WeepNote: You might recall the terrible beating death of Dr. Trudy Steuernagel, a Kent State (Ohio) professor who had written a letter to be opened in case of her death at the hands of her growing, strong autistic son. He is in an institution at this time.   Details are unfolding in Ireland about a case of another son (allegedly) murdering his Mother. Susan Dunne was an autism advocate who reached out to others in neeed. I fear we will see much more violence as the pediatric autism populations ages into full adulthood.  Violence in both directions.  Those suffering from autism, pain and behaviors lashing out at those around them - and parents (and caretakers) alike reaching the darkest corners of their psyche and murdering those in their charge.  The epidemic is not a gift. It's not just a difference. And to gloss over it as if it was any such thing is to be complicit in a future that is anything but bright.

By Anne Lucey of The Irish Times

A man has appeared before the District Court in Killarney, Co Kerry charged with the murder of his mother at their rural home near Listowel.

Patrick Dunne (20) of Ballingearagh, Lixnaw is charged that he did murder Susan Dunne at Ballingearagh on November 27th last.

Arresting officer Detective Sergeant John Heaslip told the court he had formally arrested and afterwards charged Patrick at Listowel Garda station on Thursday night. The accused made no reply to the arrest, charge and caution.

The State’s application was to remand the accused in custody to St Patrick’s Institution to appear again in Listowel next Wednesday, Listowel Garda Supt William Leahy said.

Listowel solicitor Patrick Enright said he was making no bail application but was putting the State on notice that he would be doing so.,

The solicitor said he had been in touch with the HSE regarding provisional services to meet his client’s needs if he is released on bail.

He was asking that his medical needs be met and “particularly for special cognisance” given to the particular needs of this young man.

Applying for a legal aid certificate, Mr Enright said the young man was on disability payment.

Judge Olann Kelleher granted the legal aid certificate, the medical attention requested and remanded Patrick Dunne to St Patrick’s Institution to appear again at Listowel District Court on Wednesday.

Mr Enright indicated he was in agreement with the remand to Listowel.

Patrick Dunne sat in the dock alongside a plain-clothes female garda. He was brought into court from LIstowel in an unmarked car and handcuffed to the female garda as he left the court.

Members of the Kerry Autism Action Group were in the public area of the court. Read more at The Irish Times.


Victor B

A truly autistic person does not ever intentionally hurt someone. It isn't even in them to "hurt" someone else out of malice or ill will intention. Any aggression found in an autistic person is rooted in the failure to address underlying issues that result in extreme frustration. To blame the autistic person is akin to blaming a non verbal toddler for biting or kicking someone during times of distress.

Frances Buchanan

I felt so sad when I heard this news, two lives destroyed. I'm sure this mother would want her son to get help rather than be punished for what he did.
I'm a mother living with a beautiful son who has never been diagnosed with any condition, but both my husband and I believe he has a form of Autism, as a young child he was always moody, unlike his two brothers who were just ordinary little boys who have now grown up into kind cheerful adults, whereas our youngest who is now a tall physically strong 20 yr old, is still like a time bomb ready to explode if he's upset or told off.We are at our wits end and fear that someone is going to end up dead or seriously injured by him, we love him and worry about him all the time. He is big into health & fitness, does not drink or smoke or take drugs. We feel there is no help out there for us. We tried counselling etc, But still no change. It's so difficult to deal with him. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Doctor Ralph Ankenman

Immature Adrenaline Systems Overreactivity (IASO)

Most meltdowns, rage in Autism MRDD BPD PDD etc can be more safely prevented-- *without* psychotropic drugs.

I of course cannot diagnose Patrick Dunne with IASO from a news story with scant information in it, but it sounds like a viable possibility.
Many of you replying to this story also sound like IASO might improve your situation.


"I hope we can reach a better understanding of the relationship between autism and mental illness."

Excellent comment!

To me it is fairly simple, mental illness may or may not be co-morbid with autism the ASDs and all the diseases of "vaccination". Anyone, in good, poor or awful health is SURE to be damaged or further damaged by "vaccination".

In any case, no matter the comorbidities and/or causation, first do no harm. Do NOT "vaccinate".


"Sadly, neither is it rare. A recent study found that 1 in 2 autistics were prone to aggression."

I would describe this as more of a FRUSTRATION. I have a nice bite mark scar on my leg. I looked into the boy's eyes as he was biting me. There was no aggression in those eyes. I saw frustration.

Please put yourself in the autistic's place. His wants are extremely simple. His wants are OFTEN denied. When you are seen as denying these SIMPLE wants you are often an OBSTACLE.

WHY are we doing this to our children?


We have a problem of definitions. Since autism is defined as a set of symptoms that doesn't include things like bipolar, oppositional-defiant, or other mental health disorders (or gut issues), we have to use the term "co-occurring". For a young person suffering with all of these "co-occurring" conditions, I prefer to use the term "vaccine injury" that resulted in bipolar disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, dysbiosis with related gut issues, and autism. Not every person with "vaccine injury" will have the same set of conditions related to the injury, and, yes, some of these conditions occur in the absence of vaccine injury, just as fetal alcohol syndrome manifests with various different conditions in different children some of which occur in kids with no fetal alcohol syndrome. The term "co-occurring" fails to acknowledge the relationship of the various conditions -- like the sufferer just hit the unlucky jackpot of unfortunate conditions. In my view, autism is just one of the most common manifestations of a vaccine injury early in life. If a child suffers a vaccine injury from the HPV vaccine, other manifestations are more likely. In acknowledging the life and tragic death of Susan Dunne, I hope we can reach a better understanding of the relationship between autism and mental illness.

Martha Moyer

I have a 40 year old son with autism, bipolar, IDD, OCD and minimal communications as well as paralyzed bowels due to institutional neglect. He is 6 ft. 2 and 200 lbs. He just pushed a caretaker and sent her to the hospital with possibly a broken hip. This is the second time he has been so violent in recent months. Our mental health and IDD authorities are trying for separate grants to create a crisis intervention for people with dual diagnoses but so far nothing his happened and this is the problem throughout the country.

Vicki Hill

"Does anyone honestly believe that this would have happened if the accused man did not have autism."

Actually, yes. Cases like this occur from time to time among people with serious mental illness.

I don't know whether this young man had only autism, or whether he had a co-occurring mental illness. These do sometimes occur together. But the autism community needs to coordinate with the mental health community in finding solutions to avoid such tragic events. Psychiatric hospitals need help in knowing how to deal with patients who are aggressive and have autism. Our laws in the U.S. make it extremely difficult to hospitalize an adult for safety unless the person has proved himself to be an "imminent" risk - but how do you prove that before your violent deed?

Haven DeLay

I think this is jsut so very sad. I do believe that chemicals have a very profound affect on behavior and that includes food and food additives. My son's behavior improved measurably after the gf/cf/sf diet. He is a very well-behaved young man, but then a few summers ago, he accidentally got a hold of some gluten. (we were told a restaurant food was safe but it wasn't). His behavior spiraled out of control within an hour, he became rather psychotic and wound up trying to choke me. You can BET we are ultra careful here with what he gets to eat. We stay away from dyes and nitrites and just keep moving towards a more pure diet. For my son, food affects his behavior.


"Does anyone honestly believe that this would have happened if the accused man did not have autism."


Autistic boys recently arrived at puberty can possess an awful strength. Couple this physical power with raging hormones and a complete bewilderment from the fog of autism we should appreciate what horrible things are POSSIBLE. God is surely on our side in that it happens so INFREQUENTLY.

When will society decide to STOP doing this to our children? We can STOP it.

We can STOP "vaccinating".


As someone who works with autistics and their families, I would tend to agree with Nancy that their aggression is not always a result of frustration. They may not be predisposed to want to cause harm, but their aggression, nevertheless, follows a complex pattern. At times they may strike out at others, and engage in self-injurious behaviour due to not getting their way, or wanting to control. Other times their aggression may seem so unpredictable, and unprovoked that one may wonder if it's not a form of self-expression. Sadly, neither is it rare. A recent study found that 1 in 2 autistics were prone to aggression.


"The epidemic is not a gift. It's not just a difference. And to gloss over it as if it was any such thing is to be complicit in a future that is anything but bright."
These 3 sentences say it all. Autism is not associated with planned violence or a desire to hurt, but the aggression that sometimes arises from it is far more than mere frustration. Does anyone honestly believe that this would have happened if the accused man did not have autism.


So sad for the whole family. My sympathies to them all.
Val; yes and no. People with autism spectrum disorders are all individuals.
In some people with autism though, as they grow older and stronger, that frustration and aggression that you describe can become dangerous. The cause of the death or injury is just an uncontrollable impulse in a moment of frustration.

As children grow into adulthood, if the temper tantrum control does not increase then what was manageable in a child can be extremely dangerous in an adult. That is the tragedy.
Some families do end up looking for institutions willing to take their children because they just can't cope any more. It is heartbreaking all the way round.
And yes in some cases that uncontrollable aggression and violence whether directed at self or others, comes as part of the autism "package". In other cases, people with autism can be very gentle souls who would not hurt a fly.


So sad. RIP, Susan. No, autism is not 'just a different way of being!' it is a full on challenge that is deserving of real research as to cause and treatments.


I'm terribly sorry to hear this news and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends of this woman. My five year old boy is autistic and I am still learning and researching. I do want to point out that autism on its own, does not cause this behavior or desire to hurt or kill. Autism is a neurological disorder, not a mental illness. Although there can be aggression expressed in autism, it is usually out of frustration and not a desire to hurt. How often do we hear of an autistic killing or beating someone badly, compared to a "neurotypical" person? Violence is in the news daily, hourly, and is more often than not, the doings of a neurotypical - with perhaps underlying mental illness that may or may not be known.

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