Anne Burke Gets Suspended Sentence For Killing Husband With Hammer

First some facts.

Anne Burke killed her husband, Patrick Burke, by striking him on the head 23 times with a hammer as he lay in bed.

For this act, she was convicted of manslaughter and given a 5-year suspended sentence.

The judge said that the deceased man was responsible for a litany of abuse against his wife and that this was partially to blame for the severe depression she was going through at the time of the killing.

Anne Burke was acquitted of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to her mental state.

In this case, the accused’s state of mind was the crucial issue deciding not only the jury’s decision to acquit her of murder, but also the judge’s decision to impose a lenient sentence for the killing.

Now, I’m not saying that Anne Burke deserved to go to jail.  If the evidence is to be believed, Patrick Burke was a violent, drunken brute, although admittedly, being dead, he wasn’t present in court to defend his good name.

But nevertheless, going on the evidence before the court, it was right and proper to examine the mental processes that led Anne Burke to commit the crime and kill her husband.  If she was at her wits’ end, the court was right to show compassion towards her, and it’s a good thing not to compound the pain for her children.

Contrast this with the case of David Bourke, who killed his wife after she conducted a humiliating affair and ordered him out of the house so that her boyfriend could move in.

Men have become unhinged by that sort of experience and yet, when I asked a simple question about the David Bourke case, every militant feminist in the country, and one or two from further afield, jumped on me, accusing me of being a misogynist and part of the patriarchal conspiracy to oppress women.  In this clamour, they were joined by assorted cynics, bullies and loudmouths.

The question I asked  was as follows:  What was the mental process that led to this crime?

The Taliban branch of feminism would not tolerate anyone attempting to see behind their simplistic certainties about patriarchy and we ended up with a medieval howling mob attempting to stifle ideas they didn’t approve of.

Now, we discover that the mental processes leading to a crime are very relevant indeed.  So relevant, in fact, that a murder charge has been downgraded to manslaughter and a woman has walked free after killing  a man by beating him over the head twenty times with a hammer as he slept.

Why is it, then, that the killer’s mental processes are significant in one case but not in the other?  Will we see the same mob howling for Mr Justice McCarthy’s head, because he dared to take account of the killer’s mental state?

I doubt it somehow, since the killer in this case wasn’t a man.


David Bourke Murder Trial


Murder Trial – Anne Burke Admits to Killing Husband With Hammer

I don’t know what sort of man Pat Burke was.

For all I know, he was the violent, abusive, bullying thug his wife says he was.

For all I know, he deserved to be killed.  Maybe so.  Maybe he deserved to have his brains beaten out with a hammer by his wife.

I  know this, though.  It’s one thing to talk about  a woman’s motivation in killing  a man. You can do that, and you can speculate on what sort of monster the dead man might have been, or not, since he isn’t around to defend his good name.  But on no account may you speculate on the process by which a man came to be the killer of a woman.

Such thoughts are verboten.

Why is this?

It was explained to the court how Anne Burke arrived at the point where she killed her husband.  That mental process was explored in detail, but you know, I didn’t hear any of the right-on liberal feel-good brigade complaining, even though the intention of that argument was to justify the killing.

Of course I’m referring to the posse of self-righteous hypocrites who lost their reason when I asked the same question about David Bourke who murdered his wife: What was the mental process that brought him to the point where he murdered his partner?

I asked this question in an entirely dispassionate way, out of curiosity.  What stages did David Bourke pass through on his way to becoming a murderer?, and I discovered that you don’t have to scratch very deep before a troop of kindergarten bullies emerge to shout you down.

I realised then that there is little or no difference between these people’s mindset and that of the despicable clergy who have kept our country in ignorance for so long.

You see, freedom of inquiry is fine, as long as it’s the approved version.


Bourke Murder Trial

I’ve been thinking about the gigantic furore that arose over the last week or so.  It came from my attempt to figure out what could possibly have gone on in David Bourke’s head that ended with a murder.

I’ll admit honestly that I was baffled by the vehemence of people’s responses, and I was even more taken aback by the personal nature of the attacks from those who, I thought, possessed a brain.

What the hell could be going on here?

Well, tonight, out of the blue, a comment from one regular explained the entire thing for me.

You see, when I say that I want to understand the mechanism whereby David Bourke became a murderer, that’s exactly what I mean. I want to figure out the process.  But people, I’m beginning to discover, don’t read what’s written down in front of them.

They see understand but they read condone.

Let me put it this way:if somebody said to you I understand exactly why the plane crashed killing everyone on board, you wouldn’t think they approved of the crash.  You’d know that they had simply found the cause.  And yet, when somebody says I understand why David Bourke killed his wife, suddenly everyone is jumping up and down and screaming misogynist.


Because some people don’t know how to fucking think and others are cynical manipulators ready to jump on any available bandwagon.  That’s why.

Let me be clear.  When I say I want to understand the mental process that led to David Bourke becoming a murderer, that’s exactly what I mean.  I want to figure it out.

Here’s a hint that will tell you whether or not I approve.  If I approve of what he did, I’ll say the following: I approve of what he did.

Now.  Is that hard to follow?  Understand does not mean the same thing as condone.

Isn’t it terrible that I have to be explaining such elementary concepts to grown adults?


Also on Bock:

Bourke Murder – Robert Campion Speaks Out

David Bourke Murder Trial


Bourke Murder – Robert Campion Speaks Out

– As difficult as it may be to understand, I forgive him.

– In fact, I very quickly forgave him for killing Jean. Of course, I’m relieved with the guilty verdict.

– My thoughts are with David tonight. He must be really suffering but if he had pleaded guilty he could have avoided putting everyone through this.

– I pray he’ll be able to find the courage and fortitude to do his time and drag something out of this.

– Anyone can change for the better


When I read this I felt nothing but disgust.

Where are the baying mob when you need them?




Also on Bock:

David Bourke Murder Trial


The Great Infidelity Debate

Somebody suggested that I take this away from the specifics of the Bourke case and ask a general question instead.

Excellent idea. That’s exactly what I’m going to do now.

For the purposes of reasoned discussion, this hypothetical situation concerns two married people, neither of whom has been in any way abusive towards the other partner during the course of their marriage. I say that to avoid the people who jump in with maybe he beat her or he might have been an alcoholic and she couldn’t take any more. I’m not interested in that kind of speculation. This question concerns two normal, hard-working, decent people.

The question is as follows:

If the wife becomes involved in an extramarital sexual relationship, what are her obligations towards her husband?

Update 1: assume the couple have young children.

Now, I couldn’t make it any clearer than that, could I? And yet, I’d give you odds somebody will accuse me of being a patriarchal, misogynistic oppressor of women.

Let nobody say I should have asked about cheating men. The answer is that I didn’t.


Previously on Bock:

David Bourke Murder Trial


David Bourke Murder Trial

There’s a trial going on in which David Bourke is accused of murdering his wife, Jean Gilbert.

Now, before anyone jumps up and accuses me of being a misogynist, or of condoning violence, let me be clear about this. I do not in any way condone this killing. It was a crime. It was wrong, and David Bourke had no right to inflict violence or coercion of any sort on his wife.

However, there are interesting aspects to the case that are worth exploring, and I’d like to know what people think about them.

The facts don’t seem to be in question. He did kill his wife and the only decision the jury has to make is whether he should be convicted of murder or manslaughter. It’s also not in question that he carried out the killing after his wife became involved with another man and told Bourke to leave the home. The new man, it seems, was to provide a replacement father-figure for the three children once David Bourke had left the home as requested.

Workmates testified that Bourke used to talk about his wife and family on work nights out and that it was obvious how much he cared for them. The court was told that after June 2007, when his wife informed him about her new lover, he became a different man.

He looked a broken man, one colleague told the court. I just couldn’t believe the difference, just even in appearance. He used to be always clean-shaven. One day he had a lot of stubble. He just seemed to let himself go.

Another colleague testified that He looked like he hadn’t slept in days. He hung his head a lot. His eyes were just sad and teary.

Two months after informing Bourke about the new relationship, his wife returned one morning after spending the night with her new man and David Bourke stabbed her four times in the back, in full view of his children. A brutal killing.

There you have it.

So what do you think was going on in the mind of a man who in June 2007 was an average Joe with three kids but by August had become a wife-killer?

What was the mental process that led to this crime?


UPDATE 30th March 2009

The jury has found David Bourke guilty of murder.



This comment came from somebody associated with Jean Gilbert, and for balance I think it should be be part of the main post:-

I made the mistake of googling for news aticles this evening on the verdict in this case – I wish I hadn’t as I came across and clicked on this link and, of course, couldn’t help myself reading all of the speculation and opinion from you all. We read about and listen to cases like this dispassionately from the sidelines with no involvement with and no relationships to the victims, the accused and the unfortunate family unwantingly pulled into the public eye virtually every week, but what we all forget is that the people involved in these cases all have long term friends, family and loved ones and these are usually the only people who actually know the true story.

I have known Jean for nearly 20 years and David, by association, since they got married. All I would ask you to do is listen to the family impact statement read outside the court. Jeans brother referenced the story that no one has heard. The portrayal of David, in my opinion, as a loving family man, bore very little relationship to the true character of the man and to how he treated both is wife and children over many years. The portrayal of Jean is also so far off the mark it’s incredibly upsetting – she was one of the most loyal, loving, giving, kind, honest and honourable people you would ever have the good fortune to meet.
Several of you astutely and correctly have asked questions on what their relationship had been like over the previous years and what had driven Jean to seek love and solace with another man. You can use your own imaginations to create answers to that and several references were given in the letter that Robert Campion had sent her. I am simply delighted that David is going to prison as a convicted Murderer, that’s what he is, and for what he put Jean and his kids through for several years prior to the terrible thing he did to her on the 28th August 2007 I hope that a few big men take a very great fancy to him in prison and make his life even more miserable and deliver some poetic justice in something that is very far from being poetic.

This is an excerpt from one of the other stories I found tonight – “The 45-year-old woman had died from blood loss and shock as a result of four stab wounds to her back. The deepest measured 14.2 cm. And, as the knife went through her body on each occasion, it had cut through the aorta, both lungs, the spleen and left kidney. It took the pathologist 45 minutes to list the injuries

As a closing comment there are three fantastic kids who have lost Mum, Dad and their childhood.

I’m not going to do any more googling just remember that when you post opinion on these things remember that there are other people out there who are closer to the truth than you. I hope that none of you have to write from real experience on something like this in the future.