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Friday 9 December 2016

Man found not guilty of landlord's murder by reason of insanity

Italian Saverio Bellante had admitted killing Tom O’Gorman but denied murder
Italian Saverio Bellante had admitted killing Tom O’Gorman but denied murder
Tom O'Gorman

An Italian man who killed his landlord and ate part of his victim's lung was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

A jury delivered the verdict in the trial of Saverio Bellante (36) at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

He was charged with the murder of journalist Tom O'Gorman (39), his landlord, at the home they shared at Beech Park Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin, between January 11 and 12 last year.

The court heard he killed Mr O'Gorman with a knife and a dumbbell after a row erupted when the two men were having a late night game of chess.

Committed

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan made orders that Bellante be committed to the Central Mental Hospital, that his psychiatrist compile a report at the hospital, and that Bellante and the medical professional appear at a hearing in the court on August 12.

Bellante had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The court was told he had dialled 999 after the killing and told gardai that he had eaten part of his victim's heart but, in fact, it was part of the victim's lung.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Stephen Monks said Bellante fulfilled the criteria for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Psychiatrist Conor O'Neill, who appeared for the defence, also said he met the criteria of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The judge told the jury prior to their deliberations that the law stated it was mandatory in such cases that a jury shall return a verdict in accordance with the evidence of the consultant psychiatrists.

Mr Sean Guerin, defending, had told the jury the evidence showed Bellante committed the offence "without any possible justification".

Nothing Mr O'Gorman said or did merited the way he "met his end" and the victim was "a good and decent man".

"The way his remains were treated could only be seen through the lens of insanity," he said.

He reminded the jury of the evidence that Bellante had been on medication for mental illness but unfortunately that medication was discontinued and "a very serious psychosis developed very rapidly".

He was "severely mentally unwell" at the time of the killing, he said.

The only possible verdict was not guilty by reason of insanity, he added.

Friends

The judge had advised the jury that a not-guilty verdict would be an acquittal, but he would not go free, instead he would be returned to the Central Mental Hospital to be brought before her in the future.

Under the Criminal Law Insanity Act of 2006, Bellante was deemed to have met all three requirements to be considered insane at the time of the killing, she said.

Friends and relatives of Mr O'Gorman, who were in reserved seating, left the courtroom quietly when the case concluded and declined to speak about the verdict.

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