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Saturday 10 December 2016

Tom Gorman's siblings tell of their devastation after violent death of 'gentle' brother

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Tom O’Gorman was brutally killed after a row over a game of chess
Tom O’Gorman was brutally killed after a row over a game of chess
Saverio Bellante

The brother and sister of the late Tom O'Gorman, who was killed by Saverio Bellante, have told a court the "greatest injustice is the unnecessary fact of Tom's death".

Mr O'Gorman was "the least violent man you could imagine, ultimately facing such appalling violence himself", Catherine and Paul O'Gorman, said in their victim impact statement to the Central Criminal Court.

"For us he was... our big brother," said Ms O'Gorman, who read out the statement.

"He was funny. He was interested and excited by life. He was gentle, with an honesty that made him vulnerable. He was passionate about his faith and also deeply empathetic, intellectually curious and always open to dialogue."

Bellante (36) was last week found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. He admitted killing Mr O'Gorman - his landlord - at his home in Castleknock in Dublin on January 12, 2014, but denied the murder.

The court heard that Bellante stabbed the 39-year-old journalist after a row over a game of chess. Bellante had told gardai that he ate what he believed to be a part of Mr O'Gorman's heart.

Grateful

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said - on the basis of evidence from consultant psychiatrist Dr Damian Mohan - that she would commit Bellante to the Central Mental Hospital.

"Since the death of our brother Tom, we have felt absolute devastation," Ms O'Gorman added in her statement.

"The last year-and-a-half have been unimaginably painful. While we are grateful to the court for giving us the opportunity to make this statement, it is impossible to adequately articulate how this has impacted our lives."

She explained the focus of the court had been to examine the actions and state of mind of the accused.

But, she said, for them, Tom's brother and sister, the "most enduring experience since January 12, 2014, can only ever be the unending loss of our brother".

She said although Tom had been primarily described during the trial as a victim of the crime committed, this was not how they remembered him.

She described Tom as being a "talker. He liked to pretty much talk to anyone". She said the one thing Paul, her brother, will miss the most "are the long phone calls they shared discussing and analysing everything from rugby and soccer to GAA".

She said for the benefit of the jury in the trial, they heard in great detail the acts of violence committed upon Tom.

"These acts have been central in coverage by the media for the benefit of the public," said Ms O'Gorman.

"But, to us, as his loved ones, we think only about whether he suffered, whether he was afraid, what he experienced.

"It is important to us that Tom is not remembered for how he died, but for how he lived - and for the warm and beautiful person he was," she said. "He is deeply loved and painfully missed by his family and friends."

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