Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Chess murder: Man charged with killing of man 'told detectives he is guilty' court hears

An Italian man charged with the murder of a man in a knife attack over a late-night chess game told detectives he is guilty, a court has heard.

Tom O'Gorman, 39, who owned the house in Dublin where he died, was found with multiple stab injuries early yesterday morning.

Saverio Bellante, 34, originally from Palermo in Sicily but with an address at Beechpark Avenue in Castleknock where the killing took place, appeared before Blanchardstown District Court today.

Detective Garda Patrick Traynor told the court that when charged and cautioned yesterday, the defendant replied: "I am guilty."

It is understood he had been playing chess with Mr O'Gorman when a row broke out.

The alarm was raised at about 1.50am yesterday and two uniformed officers called to the house to find Mr O'Gorman, a former journalist who had been working as a researcher, dead.

Bellante is charged with his murder.

During the brief district court hearing DG Traynor said Mr Bellante was charged by Garda Sergeant Morgan O'Connor last night.

"He was cautioned. His reply of the caution was 'I am guilty'," DG Traynor told the court.

Mr O'Gorman was a former journalist with The Voice Today, a Roman Catholic newspaper.

A graduate of University College Dublin, he had worked for the past seven years as a researcher with Dublin-based Catholic lobby group the Iona Institute.

Mr O'Gorman - who had a brother and a sister - was living at the family home after his mother died in 2012. His father is also dead.

Dressed in a black jumper and black trousers, Mr Bellante told the court in a strong Italian accent that he would represent himself.

Judge David McHugh asked Mr Bellante to clarify whether he wanted legal representation and he replied: "I was asked if I wanted to represent myself and the answer is yes."

Mr Bellante was remanded in custody to appear before Cloverhill District Court in Dublin on January 17.

Judge McHugh also directed that he undergo a medical assessment while in custody.

Police have said some of the details of Mr O'Gorman's death and the circumstances of the arrest of Mr Bellante are too horrific to release.

It is understood the Italian man had been living in the house as a lodger as Mr O'Gorman sought to supplement his income in recent months.

It is not thought there were any drink or drugs involved in the incident.

David Quinn, director of The Iona Institute, said Mr O'Gorman's friends and colleagues were devastated at his death.

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