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Delusional man is found guilty of killing dad just before Christmas

By John Cassidy

A Co Down man was yesterday found to have killed his father while in the "grip of a mental illness with delusional thoughts".

After more than three-and-a-half hours of deliberation at Belfast Crown Court, the jury returned a majority finding of 11-1 that Stuart Alexander Reid had "committed the act" of killing his father, Ronald Reid.

Reid (39), of Bingham Street, Bangor, was not present in court as he had been excused due to his mental illness.

His 63-year-old father Ronald Reid was found dead on Christmas Eve 2014 by police in his flat in the Savoy Apartments on Donaghadee Road in Bangor, three days after his son was detained in the Ulster Hospital and arrested for disorderly behaviour.

During the three-day trial, the court had heard that the father had suffered multiple injuries to his rib cage, and that some ribs were fractured in three places, caused by blunt force, such as stamping.

His voice box was also injured, caused by possible forceful grasping.

At the beginning of the three-day hearing, prosecutor Toby Hedworth said that in the weeks and days leading up to his father's death, "there were a number of incidents demonstrating that Stuart Reid was behaving in a bizarre and irrational way".

In one instance a "clearly intoxicated and agitated" Reid Jnr had claimed he "could not trust his mother because she was a clone and he was working for MI6 and the Marines in west Belfast".

Mr Hedworth said that on December 19, 2014, the day his father died, he made a series of emergency calls, involving either him dialling 999, or the emergency services trying to call back.

On occasions Mr Reid Snr was heard in the background breathing and coughing, or attempting to shout out his address or saying his "son is a psychopath... he's trying to kill me... he's leaning towards me".

Mr Hedworth said what the operators heard was Reid Jnr claiming initially to be a detective restraining a "violent dangerous criminal".

Mr Hedworth said it was the prosecution case that a "clearly unwell Stuart Reid", who apparently got on well with his father, had for some unknown reason "needed to detain his father and subjected him to considerable violence from which he died".

During the hearing, three residents who knew Mr Reid said that they had seen him in the Savoy two days before his body was found in his flat, and rejected prosecution suggestions that they may have been wrong about the date.

Two of the residents also claimed that they had actually spoken to him on that Monday, December 22, while the third reported he had said "hello" to him, as he always did.

But in his closing submissions in the trial, defence QC Charles McCreanor reminded the jury that witnesses claimed to have seen Ronald Reid on December 22, 2014, including a member of staff and a number of residents from the fold where he stayed.

"They are honest people who came here to say what they saw that day and they were definite in what the saw,'' added Mr Creanor.

"We don't know a great deal about Ronald Reid...but we know that Stuart got on well with his dad.

"They socialised together and had the same sense of humour.''

After the guilty verdict, Mr Justice Colton thanked the jury for their "important and careful" deliberations and excused them from the rest of the current jury sittings.

The judge said that the only option open to him was to make Reid the subject of a hospital order for an indefinitive period.

Belfast Telegraph

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