Episode 30 – The Scissor Sisters Murder

When American pop rock band, The Scissor Sisters came up with its name back in the early 2000s, it was derived from New York’s nightlife and gay culture. After being signed with British label Polydor and releasing their debut album in 2004, the band went to No 1 in the UK. And not long after that, their name began to appear in Irish news—but not because the band was gaining popularity in their neighbouring country. Unfortunately for the band, the moniker “The Scissor Sisters’ was given to real life sisters, Charlotte and Linda Mulhall, due to the nightmarish nature of their crime.

The Mulhall family of eight lived in Kilclare Gardens in Tallaght, south Dublin. The mother, Kathleen, grew up as a member of a settled Irish Traveller family at Macroom Road, Coolock. But as soon as she married John Mulhall in the early 1970s, Kathleen turned her back on her Traveller roots and acted as if her relatives no longer existed.

Kathleen and John went on to have six children—three boys and three girls. The marriage, however, wasn’t a happy one. Both Kathleen and John were heavy drinkers, and John allegedly physically abused his wife. While we don’t know if the children were ever subject to abuse, the conditions at the family home were definitely not ideal. One of the couple’s older children, Linda, who was born in 1975, grew up to be depressed and feeling hopeless for a large part of her life. Early on, Linda turned to alcohol and drugs to numb her feelings and to escape the situation at home. Linda eventually dropped out of school to start a family of her own, but after having four children with her boyfriend at the time, the relationship broke down. Shortly after, Linda moved on to another relationship which unfortunately proved even more disastrous. This man she was with, Wayne Kinsella, was horribly abusive—and not just toward Linda but her young children. Wayne had always been a violent person. He used to get in fights at school and at home constantly, even once breaking his sister’s jaw. Wayne used to beat them constantly for no reason at all other than the fact he enjoyed torturing the children—often with an electrical flex. And for the longest time, Linda did nothing to stop this from happening. She didn’t call the police or social services. Obviously, Linda may have tried to speak with Wayne, but nothing ever changed. The abuse continued until one day, after one of their numerous arguments, Linda finally went to the police just to get back at Wayne. The subsequent investigation confirmed Linda’s accusations of Wayne, who ended up serving seven years in prison for child cruelty. That sentence, however, would not be Wayne’s only one. In May 1996, he was convicted of the murder of a retired auctioneer, Thomas Foreman, who was killed in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin while visiting his wife’s grave. After his eight-year sentence, Wayne was back on the streets and not before long, he proved his violent nature had not changed. In January 2011, Wayne killed another man, 29-year-old Dubliner Adil Essalhi, because he believed Adil had been somehow involved in his brother, Lee Kinsella’s death five years earlier. This time, Wayne was jailed for life—his sister, Donna, stated at the time that Adil had nothing to do with the stabbing of her brother.

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So, the police investigation into child cruelty also revealed Linda’s alcohol and drug abuse, which resulted in the children being taken into care by the social services. Linda, herself has described the whole relationship with Wayne and losing her children as the lowest point of her life. Afterwards, she fell into an even deeper depression, and her substance abuse just got worse, leading to her becoming addicted to heroin. All this time, Linda was unemployed, having no qualifications or even interest in working. She did, however, eventually turn her life around a little bit and managed to stop using drugs as heavily as before—the improvement was enough for Linda to get her children back. By 2005, they were living in the Mulhall family home in Kilclare Gardens, together with Linda’s younger sister, Charlotte.

Charlotte was born in 1983. Like her sister, Charlotte had a long history of substance abuse and had been unemployed for most of her adulthood. But at the times when Charlotte was in need of extra cash, she would work as a prostitute in the Baguette Street area of Dublin—sometimes alongside her mother Kathleen, who was said to have introduced her daughter to the game. By the age of 21, Charlotte was already a familiar face to gardaí, being convicted of a number of minor offences. She would often move in and out of the family home depending on her financial situation—in 2005, Charlotte was once again back in Kilclare Gardens.

The situation at the home Mulhall home was overall really messy. As mentioned before, Kathleen and John’s relationship was not going well. Kathleen was definitely not happy with her husband, but she was also too scared to leave him, so instead, she started an affair in hopes of getting some happiness in her life. The man Kathleen began to see in 2002 was a 35-year-old Kenyan refugee named Farah Swaleh Noor. So Farah had arrived in Ireland seven years earlier claiming to be a Somali called “Sheilila Salim” whose family had been killed in Mogadishu during the Somali Civil War. However, a further investigation eventually revealed the truth—Farah’s family was still very much alive, and he was, in fact, a Kenyan national of Somali ethnicity. So naturally, Farah was ordered to be deported, but he managed to prevent that from happening by becoming the father of an Irish-born child—he was then granted Irish citizenship in March 1999.

The thing is that no matter how unhappy Kathleen was with her husband, her relationship with Farah was not in any way better—if anything, it was worse. Farah already had several convictions for abusive behaviour and assault and had three children with three different women, all of whom he had raped. But despite facing numerous charges, including a sexual assault in which a knife was found at the scene, Farah unbelievably never served any time in prison. So he was free to meet Kathleen in a nightclub in 2002 and soon after, move in with her in the family home Kilclare Gardens. Needless to say, John was not happy at all having her wife’s boyfriend under his roof, so he took some of the children and moved out. For about a year, John lived in various apartments in Dublin before returning to the family home after Kathleen and Farah relocated to Cork—2,5 hours away from Kilclare Gardens. The couple eventually moved back to Dublin, where Kathleen rented a house in Richmond Cottages. Despite Farah also constantly abusing her, Kathleen continued the relationship, building up pressure before it one day finally exploded with fatal consequences.

The Murder

On the morning of March 20, 2005, Linda was lounging around the family home when Charlotte asked her if she would like to party with her. Charlotte was about to turn 22 the following day, and she thought, why not start the celebrations early? Linda, however, had just gotten the custody of her children back and rarely went out as it was too difficult to find a babysitter. So, Linda initially declined Charlotte’s offer, but she was not giving up that easily. So as Charlotte persisted, Linda then asked if she could bring one of her sons along—but the look her sister gave to her made it clear it wasn’t an option. Charlotte was planning to get drunk or high, or both, and that wasn’t something children should witness. Just when Linda was about to repeat she needed to stay at home, the sisters’ father, John, walked into the room. No matter the difficulties with his wife, John seemed to care for his children and offered to mind his daughter’s kids so that Linda could unwind and relax. After that offer, Linda didn’t need any more persuasion—she thanked her father and followed Charlotte upstairs to get ready. While changing their clothes and getting their makeup done, the sisters drank some vodka and coke before heading out an hour later. Linda and Charlotte caught the No. 77 bus into Dublin city centre, where the streets were filled with people following St Patrick’s Day festivities. Amongst them were Kathleen and Farah, who had been partying for the last three days without a break. So when Linda and Charlotte arrived at the centre, they arranged to meet with their mother and her boyfriend. But instead of going to a pub or bar to have a drink, Farah went to a shop to buy a bottle of vodka and coke, and the group drank as they walked around the city. Some other day, they could have gotten in trouble with gardai, but that Sunday, the streets were anyway full of people drinking, and they blended in with the crowds. But Linda felt like the alcohol was not enough for her to unwind—she needed drugs. So as they wandered towards the boardwalk, which overlooks the River Liffey and had become a hangout for the homeless, drug addicts and winos, Linda pulled out a bag of ecstasy. She passed one of the tablets to Charlotte, which Kathleen noticed. But instead of getting angry with her daughters for using illegal drugs, Kathleen asked for one of the tiny white pills—Farah was the only one in the group who didn’t want to get high, saying he wasn’t in the mood.

It didn’t take long for Linda and Charlotte to become giggly and eventually noticeably euphoric. Ecstasy, however, seemed to have very little effect on Kathleen. Meanwhile, Farah continued to drink, and the drunker he got, the worse he behaved. What started as nasty comments here and there became a full-on argument with Kathleen. Linda could obviously tell Farah was not happy and but she found it extremely hard to understand what the row was about. Due to Farah’s strong Kenyan accent, Linda had always had difficulty speaking with her mother’s boyfriend. But that day, she didn’t even really want to understand what was going on—Linda was feeling great thanks to the pills, and so she began listening to music on her phone and just ignored the argument. However, the group eventually had to move on as Kathleen and Farah’s fight was getting out of hand and gaining too much attention. Having no other place to go, the group decided to go to the flat Kathleen shared with Farah. On their way, the couple continued to argue in raised voices—at this point, Farah was so drunk he had difficulties walking in a straight line and speaking without slurring his words. Then, the group happened to walk past a young Chinese boy, and Farah kind of lost it for a moment. Back in 1997, he had raped a mentally disabled 16-year-old Chinese girl, who later gave birth to a son whom Farah never met for obvious reasons. Still, he knew he had a half-Chinese son, and despite the fact that the boy he now saw in front of him was no older than five, Farah grabbed the boy by the shoulder and said to Kathleen:

Kathy, this is my son. This is my son.”

Meanwhile, the boy screamed and cried out for help, unable to get away from this drunken stranger who was now crying and hugging him. Farah’s behaviour alone was causing a massive scene in the middle of Dublin city centre, and it only got worse when Kathleen started shouting at her boyfriend:

“That’s not your son, you bleeding eejit.”

But it wasn’t until Linda intervened and dragged Farah off that the little boy managed to run away. The group then continued their walk as if nothing had happened. On their way, they encountered Farah’s old co-worker from the fishing port of Kismayu, Mohammed Ali Abu Bakaar and a woman named Deirdre Hyland. Despite being extremely drunk, Farah recognised his friend and greeted Mohammed with some slurred words. Mohammed talked briefly with Kathleen, who introduced her daughter to him, before urging Farah to go home and sleep. But when the group arrived at the flat at about 6:30 PM that evening, they just carried on drinking and taking drugs. Charlotte put on a Sean Paul CD before going to the kitchen with Kathleen to prepare some drinks—it was at that point that things began to spiral out of control. Apparently, Kathleen made a decision to crush an ecstasy pill and spike Farah’s drink with it as she wanted him to feel better and be in great humour as her daughters. What Kathleen seemed to forget was the fact that her boyfriend was a violent man with a history of sexual abuse—so instead of making him jolly, the pills had a disturbing effect on Farah. Ecstasy can increase sexual desire, and while that may not sound bad for some individuals, in the case of a sexual predator, you can imagine the consequences. Kathleen and Farah’s apartment wasn’t that big, and there were only a few places to sit, which resulted in Linda sitting on Charlotte’s lap on the sofa next to their mother’s boyfriend. As time passed, Farah became more and more flirtatious and touchy with Linda. He pulled her close to him and placed his arms around her waist, and while Linda was drunk, she was sober enough to understand what Farah was doing was not okay. Still, knowing their mother’s boyfriend’s aggressive nature, Linda didn’t want to cause a scene, so instead of saying anything, she tried to pull away—but Farah didn’t let go. Linda later described the situation:

It did not feel right. He pulled me closer to him, sort of touching on Charlie’s lap and his knee. His arm went from my back onto my shoulder, and he pulled me close to him. He said something in my ear. I did not understand him, but I knew it was dirty. It was something he should not have said to me. It caused me to shiver.

While Linda didn’t say anything, Charlotte, of course, saw what was happening and eventually thought she needed to intervene. But it was like Charlotte was talking to a wall—she told Farah to get his hands off her sister, but he was too drunk and stoned to pay attention or even care what she was saying. Instead, Farah pulled Linda even closer and again whispered into her ear, calling Linda a creature of the night and the spitting image of her mother. That was enough for Linda, who then tried to get up and told Farah to stop touching her. She also asked Kathleen what Farah meant by saying she and him were creatures of the night, as Linda knew it was something Farah used to say to his girlfriend. But instead of getting an explanation, Kathleen began shouting at Farah, asking what he had meant by saying that to her daughter. At this point, Charlotte became hysterical and joined her mother, screaming and shouting at Farah, asking what he was doing to her sister. But despite the two women yelling at him, Farah didn’t let go of Linda—it was like Charlotte and Kathleen didn’t even exist to him. Linda tried to push her mother’s boyfriend’s hands from her waist while saying to Kathleen something along the lines that Farah would sleep with her daughter as quickly as he would look at her. Frustrated that Farah was not listening to them, Charlotte got up and continued shouting at him:

Get your hands off her. She is nothing like me ma. Get your hand off, Linda.

But Farah only seemed to enjoy the situation and was definitely not going to allow himself to be bossed around by women—to him, women were objects he could use as he pleased. So when Kathleen tried to help her daughter, Farah pushed her away and drew his finger across his throat. While it’s possible that Farah was only fooling around and didn’t actually mean the sign as a threat, the reality was that he had a history of violence towards women, and he had even broken Kathleen’s ribs once during a fight. That alone made Linda and Charlotte scared of what could happen if the situation escalated. They already despised this man for breaking their family—they could not let Farah hurt their mother.

Now, only those in the apartment at the time know for sure what happened next, but allegedly, an argument between Kathleen and Farah got so bad that she eventually pleaded with her daughters to kill her boyfriend. As Charlotte explained:

Me ma just kept saying to me and Linda, ‘Please kill him or he is going to kill me.’ She just kept going about it. Me ma gave me a knife, and she gave Linda a hammer. I don’t know where she got them.”

Holding the Stanley knife in her hand, Charlotte once again warned Farah to let her sister go—but he didn’t react at all. Charlotte then struck Farah across the throat. The blade penetrated an artery, causing Farah to stumble backwards and fall back onto a bedroom floor, hitting his head on the bunk bed. Still, he tried to get back up, mumbling his girlfriend’s name. Panicking that Farah could still hurt her mother or sister after what Charlotte had just done to him, Linda took the hammer and hit him on the head a number of times. At this point, Farah was no threat to anyone anymore, but instead of calling authorities, both Linda and Charlotte continued the attack, hitting and stabbing Farah while he lay on the ground. Charlotte picked up another knife, a bread knife and plunged it into Farah’s torso, again and again, puncturing both of his lungs and damaging his kidneys and liver. Meanwhile, Linda kept striking Farah’s head with the hammer, likely breaking his skull. All this time, Kathleen allegedly remained in the living room, watching TV and drinking as if nothing was happening. Once Charlotte and Linda were done, Farah had at least 27 stab wounds all over his body—the first ones alone had been enough to kill him. So now, realising what they had done, the panic started to settle in, and the girls needed to decide what to do next. Charlotte told Kathleen her boyfriend was dead, who then started screaming, “Get him out, get him out.” According to Charlotte’s later statement, it was her mother who came up with the idea to dismember Farah’s body—although Linda claims Charlotte was the one who said, “we will chop him up.” But no matter whose idea it was, the result was the same.

Farah’s body was taken into the tiny bathroom, where Linda had to position herself in the shower while Charlotte sat on the toilet seat to have enough room to perform the gruesome task. While Kathleen sat in the kitchen smoking continuously, her daughters used the Stanley knife, hammer and bread knife to dismember Farah’s body. As Linda explained:

Charlie cut into his arms with the knife, she got tired. I then used the hammer and hit his legs a number of times. It took us a few hours to do it. Me and Charlie took turns cutting him and breaking the bones.”

The tools Linda and Charlotte had were not really suitable for what they were about to do, but the two were determined to finish what they had started. Although it took forever for Charlotte to cut through the cartilage and bone with the knives, she also had boundless energy from the ecstasy—so she kept going until it just wasn’t physically possible. The amount of blood that was flowing on the floor was unimaginable—a man of Farah’s size and weight usually has about 5.6 litres of blood circulating in their body. The towels that Charlotte and Linda were placing on the wounds had little to no effect. Not before long, the little bathroom resembled a scene from a horror movie or a slaughterhouse and smelled metallic—that smell Linda said she could never forget. There was nothing methodical in the way the sisters dismembered Farah’s body, they simply cut through wherever they could, leaving behind a mutilated pile of flesh. At some point, Linda decided to remove Farah’s penis, thinking she was avenging the fact that this man had allegedly at least once raped her mother. In total, it took Charlotte and Linda five hours to dismember Farah’s body into eight separate pieces. The man’s torso was cut in half, revealing his internal organs. The lower part of the torso still had the hip joints fully intact, and the lower legs were left with feet attached. Farah’s arms were broken above the humerus with the claw hammer. Lastly, the sister removed the head—Linda and Charlotte later admitted they took a turn to cut through Farah’s neck as the task was too terrifying for one person alone. Linda started to feel some remorse at this point and was not able to look at her mother’s boyfriend’s face while cutting and hammering. The look on Farah’s lifeless face, the pure terror, was way too much to handle, and in the end, Linda placed a towel over the man’s head so that she was able to finish the beheading. 

When the Mulhall sisters were done with Farah’s body, it was around 11:30 PM. Not knowing what to do and being fully panic-stricken, Linda took her phone and called her father—during the two-minute call, she explained to John what had happened. After the call, it took John 10 minutes to phone his estranged wife as he tried to comprehend what he had just been told and if his daughter was just joking around or had lost her mind because of drugs. But once he spoke with Kathleen, there was no question left if Farah Swaleh Noor really was dead or not. Based on the phone records, we know that John spoke with Kathleen for about two minutes and called her again just before midnight. Afterwards, John allegedly took his car and drove into the city, arriving at Kathleen and Farah’s flat at 1:30 AM.

To John’s relief, once he stepped inside the apartment, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. There was no blood, no body in sight, and Linda and Charlotte looked totally normal. John then asked where Farah was, likely expecting him to be out, and all Linda had told him to be just a bad joke. But Linda then told her father that the body was in the bedroom. Unsure of what he was about to find, John opened the door and looked in the room but didn’t see anything. Confused, John looked at his daughters, who then told him to look again—at this point, Linda revealed they had dismembered the body. So, when John took another look, he noticed a full black bin liner in the corner and immediately felt nauseous. Still, John had to see it with his own eyes to be sure—and so, he glanced into the bag. Immediately after, John allegedly ran outside, throwing up as he went. At this point, he didn’t want to have anything to do with his wife and daughter anymore—no matter how much he cared about Linda and Charlotte, killing and dismembering a man was too much. Here it’s important to note the sisters only spoke about their father’s visit to the flat once, Kathleen never mentioned it at all and John has denied having any involvement, so there is a possibility that, in reality, things went very differently. 

Nevertheless, not receiving any help from their father only deepened the panic—it also didn’t help that the effects of alcohol and ecstasy were starting to wear off. Still, the sisters knew what they had to do, as Linda later recalled:

Charlotte started pulling the heavy pieces into sports bags. Charlotte put the main parts of the body into the sports bags; she put it into black plastic bags at first. I put the legs into the black plastic bags, but I let the legs come out.” 

Farah’s head was also placed into a plastic bag and then in a suitcase. That case was then left behind in the back garden while the sisters headed out to dispose of the other body parts. It was a conscious decision not to throw the head in with the rest of the body—Linda thought that the gardai would have a hard time identifying the body without it. But while that may have been a smart move, the sisters still made a big mistake by dumping the other body parts into the Royal Canal. Linda and Charlotte didn’t have a car, so the canal that was located just a five-minute walk from Richmond Cottages seemed like the best option—but dumping a body so close to the crime scene was risky. Linda’s later statements indicated that Kathleen walked to the canal with her daughters, but it was Linda and Charlotte who carried the bags. They made the trip in the darkness several times, hoping nobody saw them and panicking whether or not police could identify Farah only by the scar on his arm. In any case, it was too late to change the plan anymore.

Back in the flat, Linda and Charlotte faced the horrifying amount of blood and pieces of flesh that they now had to clean up. The blood was already soaked into the carpets and linoleum—it took the sisters all night and numerous buckets of water and cleaning agents to get the apartment as spotless as they could. At this point, at about 11 AM, Linda and Charlotte were exhausted, but they still needed to get rid of Farah’s head. So the sisters took the bag with grisly contents with them and headed out. But instead of taking care of the disposal immediately, Linda and Charlotte walked around the city with the head in a bag as if they were just having a regular morning. First, they walked into a supermarket on Summerhill Parade and bought salad rolls to satisfy their growing hunger. Then, the sisters caught a bus from the city centre and travelled to The Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, where they proceeded to window shop. But while Linda and Charlotte seemed calm from the outside, inside, their minds were in turmoil. Even though Linda’s eyes stared at the clothes in the windows, the only thing she could see was Farah’s face, and the only thing she heard was the man’s last word: Katie. Linda played the whole ordeal in her head, again and again, trying to understand the situation she was in—she had been involved in not just killing a person but also dismembering their body. Charlotte was also terrified, but perhaps even more about what was going to happen to her rather than what they had done to Farah. Their actions at this point were a tell-tale sign of a state of denial—Linda and Charlotte were doing these everyday things in an effort to feel normal. But they could not deny carrying a severed head around forever. So after a while, Linda and Charlotte walked to the Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, where they planned to bury the final piece of their mother’s boyfriend. It took a long time for the sisters to decide the exact location, they walked around for ages before finally digging a hole in the ground a few feet away from a park bench with a knife. According to Linda’s later statement, Kathleen accompanied them to the park and was the one who threw the knives and hammer into one of the lakes. Afterwards, the trio returned home, hoping they had just managed to get away with the murder.

The Discovery

But the thing is, Farah’s death continued to haunt Linda and Charlotte. While Charlotte had appeared headstrong throughout the whole incident, she soon began to break down. Just days after the brutal slaughter, Charlotte could not help but drunkenly confess what they had done to her other sister, Marie. Marie, however, didn’t believe a word Charlotte was saying at first. After all, Charlotte was known to tell wild stories, especially when she was drunk or high on drugs. The version of the events Charlotte shared with Marie was different at some points, for example, she said that she and Kathleen had gone out for a moment and, upon their return, found Farah trying to rape Linda. Charlotte did admit she was the one hitting Farah first, but she also left out many details about the murder. Marie later gave a statement saying:

She didn’t describe the items used to hit Farah, nor did I enquire. Charlotte told me that they then cut Farah Noor into two halves and buried him on either side of the canal. She did not identify the canal, nor did I ask her. I honestly did not believe her. Charlotte was very upset at this stage, and I was shocked, to put it mildly, by the story she told me even though I did not believe her.

That night Marie went to sleep thinking nothing more of Charlotte’s disturbing story. But it didn’t take long for her to learn that her sister was not lying.

On March 21, the day after the killing took place, Farah’s body parts began to float to the surface of the canal. The location Linda and Charlotte had chosen for the disposal was easily seen by people walking by. Margaret Gannon was one of the people who noticed a black plastic bag wrapped in brown tape floating in the water that day. On Tuesday, Margaret saw the same bag again, and this time, she thought it looked a little like a body without a head. Still, Margaret brushed it off, thinking it was just her imagination playing tricks. In the following days, people noticed other body parts in the canal, including an arm but thought they simply belonged to a broken mannequin. After all, the body parts were already turned marbled white, making them look artificial. It wasn’t until March 30 that a man named Peter Steinle finally alerted Crimestoppers about two arms, a hand and two lover legs he saw walking beside the canal from North Strand Road. Shortly after, at about 6:30 PM that same evening, James O’Connor noticed a group of teenagers staring at the water at Clarke’s Bridge. The youths told James that there was a dummy in the water, who then looked down out of curiosity. Indeed, he saw strange but, at the same time, familiar shapes under the water. Eventually, James was able to tell that he was looking at a human torso, an arm and a leg. Terrified, James took his phone and dialled 999.

Garda sub-aqua divers were eventually able to retrieve most of the body parts from the canal. At this point, the media had already heard about the gruesome discovery—Linda and Charlotte’s worst fears were realised as they watched the evening news. As Marie heard the news, she began to think if Charlotte had been telling the truth after all. Marie spoke about the discovery with their father, but didn’t mention what Charlotte had told her some days earlier. But at this point, John appeared as if he didn’t know anything at all about the murdered man.

The post-mortem revealed that Farah had died of the 27 stab wounds, and based on the lack of defensive wounds, it was believed he had either been taken by surprise or knew his attacker. The investigators, of course, did not have any idea who this person was—the head was missing, and the victim’s fingerprints yielded no information. It was initially thought that perhaps the murder was somehow linked to another similar case that took place four years earlier in 2001. The torso of an unidentified body was found in the River Thames, and while the case remains unsolved, it was believed the killing was ritualistic. The way Farah’s body was dismembered and the fact his head and penis were missing made the investigators think that perhaps some ritual had been the motive for the murder. But before anything else, the police needed to identify the victim, and so they published photographs of the clothes that were found with the body parts in hopes that someone would recognise them. And someone did, the very same man that saw Farah on the same day he was brutally murdered—Mohammed Ali Aby Bakaar.

On Monday, May 9, Mohammed read an article in The Street Journal about the dismembered remains of a black male that had been found in the Royal Canal. But it was not really the article itself that caught Mohammed’s attention, instead it was the image of a white Ireland football jersey. Mohammed remembered very well he had seen Farah Noor wearing the same type of shirt during the St Patrick’s weekend celebrations. On that day, Mohammed had found it curious that Farah was wearing something so Irish, considering he was from Kenya. So now Mohammed read through the article, paying more attention to its content and the more he read, the more concerned he became. Still, Mohammed thought that surely Kathleen would have reported Farah missing if something really had happened to him, so he didn’t panic too much. But as Mohammed then tried to call Farah to check on him, the line was disconnected. Furthermore, the people in the Somali community in Dublin had not heard from Farah for quite some time. This was enough to convince Mohammed it was necessary for him to speak with the authorities.

Mohammed gave gardai a very detailed description of the last time he saw Farah, including the shirt he was wearing and the woman she was with—although he remembered Kathleen as Katherine, that detail didn’t matter much. Shortly after, the gardai knew all about Farah’s troubled past and the fact he had children. The investigators tracked down a woman who Farah had previously dated and asked for a DNA sample from her son.

The Aftermath

While waiting for the test results, gardai became deeply interested in Kathleen and Farah’s relationship. They knew Kathleen had been a repeated victim of domestic abuse, and she had moved out of the flat she shared with Farah shortly after he disappeared. Could it be that after years of abuse, Kathleen had struck back? But then, on July 11, the incident room was contacted by the last two people the detectives could have ever guessed to do so—John Mulhall Jr and his brother, James, who were both at the time in Wheatfield Prison.

Linda and Charlotte’s brothers wanted to meet with members of the investigation team in private, saying they had all the information gardai needed to solve the crime. John Jr and James told the detectives that the victim was their mother’s boyfriend, Farah, and he had been killed in a flat at Richmond cottages. Apparently, Kathleen had told her sons all about the slaughtering of her boyfriend, including the fact that Linda and Charlotte had been responsible for killing Farah. John Jr and James had heard about gardai being interested in their mother and found it disrespectful that their sisters did nothing to help Kathleen in the situation—instead, it seemed that Linda and Charlotte were hoping their mother was going to be blamed for everything.

Just a few days after the informal interview of the two Mulhall brothers, on July 15, DNA test results came back, confirming the body parts indeed belonged to Farah. Further tests also confirmed that his DNA matched the tiny blood samples found at the flat. Less than a month later, on August 3, Linda, Charlotte, Kathleen and John Mulhall Snr were arrested—however, they were released 12 hours later due to a lack of evidence and everyone denying having anything to do with the killing. At this point, Linda was not doing well at all. She barely slept, she was drinking and taking drugs all the time and even tried to commit suicide soon after being released. In the end, Linda couldn’t handle the guilt, and in August of 2005, she gave a voluntary statement to gardai, telling them every single detail about what went down on that terrible night five months earlier. Following the very emotional confession, gardai arrested Charlotte, who tried to convince the detectives her sister was lying, and Kathleen was actually behind all of it. However, as soon as she understood that Linda’s version of the events was so detailed and so convincing that there was no room for any other explanation, Charlotte changed her mind and agreed her sister was telling the truth.

By this point, Kathleen had cut off contact with both of her daughters and eventually fled the country in September 2005—she wasn’t located until January 2008 when gardai found out she was living in England.

Linda and Charlotte Mulhall’s trial took place in October 2006—both of them pleaded not guilty to the murder of Farah Noor in the Central Criminal Court. In Linda’s case, the jury agreed she had not committed murder but manslaughter caused by provocation. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Charlotte, however, was convicted of murder and given the mandatory life sentence. Their mother eventually returned to Ireland voluntarily in February 2008—Kathleen pleaded guilty to helping her daughters clean up the crime scene. She was sentenced to five years in prison in May 2009. 

A month earlier, in April 2009, Linda told her fellow inmates that she had gone back to the park to dig up Farah’s head. Linda claimed she then smashed the head into bits with a hammer before dumping the pieces in rubbish bins throughout Phoenix Park. There is no way of confirming if Linda’s story was true or not, but it would definitely explain why Farah’s head was never found. Linda Mulhall was eventually released from prison in 2018, her time served with credit for good behaviour.

Needless to say, the murder of Farah Noor caused divided opinions amongst the public. This man was known for his violent nature and the horrible things he had done to women—some say his death was sweet justice for those he harmed. On the other hand, Linda and Charlotte Mulhall used such an unimaginable amount of violence toward their victim that the judge called the crime “the most grotesque killing that has occurred in my professional lifetime”. If Charlotte had put down the knife after the first cut, the incident might have been seen as self-defence. But 27 stab wounds, numerous hammer blows and dismembering of the body is nothing else than overkill.

Host – Rhiannon Doe 

Voiceover – Kwesi 

Website layout & design – Fran Howard 

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Scissor Sisters’ mum released – and looking for Travellers’ help

Scissor Sisters murder: A look back on one of the most gruesome and brutal cases in Ireland

Scissor Sister Charlotte Mulhall’ one step closer to freedom’ as she ‘could be given unsupervised day release from jail’

Scissor Sister Charlotte Mulhall gets more day releases – and could be fully freed this year

Scissor Sister Charlotte Mulhall could be fully freed this year as she gets more day releases

Pictured for first time after release – the ‘Scissor Sister’ who cut up her mother’s lover

‘Scissor’ mother dated rapist after fleeing to UK

Mulhall sister sentenced to life

Man gets seven years jail for cruelty to children

What Did “The Scissor Sisters” Do with Their Victim’s Head and Penis?

From murder to manslaughter

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