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Murder, mutilation and dismemberment: Ireland transfixed by 'Scissor Sisters' case

Ireland Correspondent,David McKittrick
Wednesday 01 November 2006 01:00 GMT

In Ireland they have taken to calling two Dublin women the "Scissor Sisters" - not for any musical ability but because after killing a man they spent hours laboriously dismembering his body.

In the most gruesome Irish murder case for many years, the sisters distributed their victim's body parts across the city. His head has never been found.

The shocking details have appalled the Irish public. One sister has been convicted of murder and the second of manslaughter at Dublin's Central Criminal Court, while their mother, who helped dispose of the body, has gone on the run.

Sentences will be handed down next month on Charlotte Mulhall, 23, who was convicted of murder on Saturday, and on her sister, 31-year-old Linda, who has four children. Charlotte is seeking permission to keep her five-month-old baby in prison with her.

The man they killed was a Somalian, Farah Swaleh Noor, who was the boyfriend of their mother, Kathleen. Described as "someone who'd fight or get into rows at the drop of a hat", he was violent towards Kathleen.

In March last year all four went to Kathleen's house after consuming alcohol and drugs in Dublin's O'Connell Street on St Patrick's Day weekend. According to Linda, Mr Noor pulled her close and said something in her ear. "I did not understand but I know it was dirty, dirty," she said. A heated argument followed. Charlotte told the police: "Ma kept saying to me and Linda, 'Please just kill him for me.' Then she got the hammer and the knife and she gave them to me and Linda. He wouldn't let Linda go and I cut him on the neck."

Linda said: "I picked up a hammer and hit him on the head loads of times, a good few times, and Charlotte stabbed him."

Once Mr Noor had been stabbed and bludgeoned to death, Kathleen decided the body should be "cut up".

The process took up to five hours. Linda worked in the shower while Charlotte sat on the lavatory seat and used a bread knife to saw off Mr Noor's legs. Linda would later say she had cut off the penis so that he "would not be able to rape my mother any more".

After the dismemberment the sisters made several trips to Dublin's Royal Canal, carrying body parts in bags and throwing the torso and limbs into the water. The murder came to light when youths spotted a severed leg. Initially, police thought the killing had been a ritual one, and travelled to Africa for the inquiry.

In the meantime the dead man's head was taken on a grisly odyssey. The three women first took it by bus to Tallaght in north Dublin, where they buried it in a park. Linda returned and took it to several different locations. At one spot it was not fully concealed. A park ranger said he had seen something half-buried, and an alcoholic testified to seeing what he thought was a blackbird, saying he kicked it several times but could not get it out of the ground.

Linda later reclaimed the head and took it elsewhere, telling police she had "kissed the bag and told Farah I was sorry" before consuming a litre of vodka at the spot.

The court was told both sisters had problems with drugs and alcohol and had a tough background. Linda's husband suffered a drugs-related death and she was later abused by a violent partner who received a substantial jail sentence for burning and brutalising her children. When the guilty verdicts were announced Linda hugged her two brothers and told them, "Thank God it's over."

Kathleen's husband John, described as the mainstay of the family, hanged himself in Dublin's Phoenix Park last year. Police said the weight of the case had contributed to his death.

Mr Noor's mother said she was relieved someone was brought to justice. She was too poor to travel to Dublin for his funeral, or for the court case.

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