Killer not guilty by reason of insanity

The jury in the trial of an Italian man who admitted killing his landlord and eating his body parts in Castleknock last year have found him not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

Saverio Bellante, aged 36, with an address at Beech Park Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin 15, was charged with murdering Thomas O’Gorman at an unknown time between January 11, 2014, and January 12, 2014, at the above address.

Last Monday at the Central Criminal Court Mr Bellante pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr O’Gorman.

The jury spent one hour and 36 minutes deliberating yesterday before bringing in a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Before returning their verdict, the foreman of the jury asked Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan if they could express an opinion on their verdict. Ms Justice Heneghan refused, saying: “A jury cannot express an opinion on a verdict.”

Ms Justice Heneghan committed Mr Bellante to the Central Mental Hospital and put in the matter for August 12, 2015, at 11am when Dr Mohan would be present.

On Thursday the jury heard the Italian admitted killing his landlord and told gardaí in an interview he ate what he believed to be a part of the deceased’s heart.

Also on Thursday two consultant psychiatrists told the trial jury that Bellante fulfilled the criteria for a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The court also heard that Bellante had been diagnosed with religious hysterical deliria while in Sicily.

The court heard Mr Bellante, a freelance journalist, returned to Ireland again in 2011 and worked with a pharmaceutical company and had been taking his medication.

The prosecution said both men met through Focolare and in November 2013 Mr Bellante rented a room from Mr O’Gorman.

On the evening of January 11, 2014, both men were playing a game of chess.

The phonecall which was made to 999 by the Italian at 1.50am said he killed Mr O’Gorman with a dumbbell and a knife.

The court heard there was a dumbbell and a broken part of a sharp kitchen knife beside the body and a plate or bowl in the kitchen with lung tissue in it. Also there was a frying pan with “reddish material” in it.

The court also heard Mr Bellante thought he took Mr O’Gorman’s heart out of his chest with his hand but it was in fact his lung.

On Thursday afternoon two consultant psychiatrists told the trial jury that Mr Bellante fulfilled the criteria for a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury was also told that two days before the murder he had attended an out-patient appointment at a Dublin clinic where the anti-psychotic medication Olanzapine he was on was stopped.

The court also heard Mr Bellante saw Mr O’Gorman as the devil whereas he was Jesus Christ and he proceeded to stab him four or five times with a knife.

In his closing speech yesterday, Sean Guerin, defending, said the way the deceased remains were treated could only be seen through the lens of insanity, something Bellante had suffered with for more than a decade.

Ms Justice Heneghan told the jury

insanity was a defence and the onus was on Mr Bellante to establish his insanity at the time, so the burden of proof was on the defence where they were putting insanity forward.

She stressed if the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity it is an acquittal and he doesn’t get to walk out the door but goes to the Central Mental Hospital. In the future she said she will then direct what is to be done with him.


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