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Saverio Bellante murder trial: Judge tells jury evidence shows accused not guilty by insanity

Published 31/07/2015

Saverio Bellante is charged with the murder of Tom O'Gorman
Saverio Bellante is charged with the murder of Tom O'Gorman

The judge in the murder trial of Saverio Bellante, who killed Tom O'Gorman and ate part of his lung, told the jury on Friday that the evidence showed he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan declared the law states it was mandatory that a jury shall return that verdict because two consultant psychiatrists had testified the accused man met the criteria to be considered insane at the time of the killing.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Bellante (36), an Italian who lived with his landlord Tom O'Gorman at Beech Park Avenue, Castleknock, Dublin,  killed his victim after a row during a game of chess in their home between January 11 and 12 last year.

He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The court heard he killed Mr O'Gorman when he attacked him with a knife and a dumb-bell and then removed a lung from his chest and ate part of it.

Bellante dialled 999 and told gardai what he had done. He said he thought he had eaten part of Mr O Gorman's heart.

The jury retired to consider their verdict at 11.55 a.m. today after being addressed by defence counsel Sean Guerin and the judge.

Mr Guerin told the jury today the evidence showed Vallente committed the offence "without any possible justification."

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

He said Mr Bellante had been on medication for mental illness but unfortunately that medication was discontinued and  "a very serious psychosis developed very rapidly."

Saverio Bellante is charged with the murder of Tom O'Gorman (above)
Saverio Bellante is charged with the murder of Tom O'Gorman (above)

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 said.

The judge said a not guilty verdict would be an acquittal but he would not go free but instead 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 meet all three requirements to be deemed insane at the time of the killing. It was mandatory to return a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence submitted a consultant psychiatrist that he was insane at the time. In this case, two psychiatrists reached the same conclusion.

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