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Former diplomat admits killing LGBT rights advocate after neighbour dispute

Enrique Facelli, 49, denied murdering his 55-year-old neighbour Julian Aubrey but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

A former Uruguay diplomat who stabbed an LGBT rights campaigner to death following a “long-standing” neighbour dispute has been locked up indefinitely.

Enrique Facelli, 49, developed a delusional belief that kind and gentle Julian Aubrey was a devil worshipper and was out to kill him, the Old Bailey heard.

In October last year, he attacked Mr Aubrey in his West Kensington flat, stabbing him 22 times.

At an Old Bailey hearing, the defendant denied murdering his 55-year-old neighbour but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Julian Aubrey was stabbed to death (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Prosecutor Tom Little QC said the Crown accepted the plea to the lesser charge in light of two psychiatric reports which found he had paranoid schizophrenia.

Mr Little said: “This case involves a long-standing neighbour dispute.

“There were many years of allegations and counter-allegations between the neighbours.”

Facelli had complained to his housing association that Mr Aubrey left rubbish in the communal areas of the block, opened his mailbox and left faeces in the stairwell.

By November 2015, Facelli was showing “extreme signs of paranoia” and the following year he was referred to mental health services.

In July last year, Facelli told a social worker he believed his neighbour was trying to poison him with caustic soda and was a member of a satanic cult.

Days later, he broke into Mr Aubrey’s home with a crowbar and axe and was sectioned as a result.

On October 30 last year, Facelli approached tradesmen at the block and asked them to check on his neighbour, fearing he was dead.

They found the body of Mr Aubrey lying in the hallway of his flat covered in white caustic soda crystals.

He had been stabbed 22 times.

Mr Aubrey was formerly co-chairman of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea LGBT liaison group and in 2014 was recognised by the Princess Royal for his work counselling victims of sexual abuse.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Aubrey’s sister Louise Turner said: “Julian did not deserve such an evil and horrific death.”

She described him as a “kind, sensitive, gentle, sincere and caring” man who “could be too trusting and a little bit gullible”.

Mr Aubrey had a difficult childhood but was intelligent and creative, with a love of painting.

In mitigation, Patrick Gibbs QC told how Facelli was an intelligent individual who spent 18 years as the cultural attache for the embassy of Uruguay in London.

But he had been “driven quite out of his wits” and lived in “mortal fear” of Mr Aubrey.

He spent money on a “forensic report” aimed at detecting bugging devices and air filters at his home, Mr Gibbs said.

He also moved out of his flat for nine months to get away from the perceived “persecution”.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC handed Facelli a hospital order without limit of time.

Detective Inspector Jon Meager, of Scotland Yard, said a number of factors led to the deterioration of the relationship between Facelli and Mr Aubrey, who had been neighbours for 19 years.

He said: “Despite Facelli originally claiming to have had no involvement in the death, forensic examinations helped us to prove that he had been lying about this and made it obvious how he had attempted to cover his tracks.

“I hope that the sentencing today brings some comfort to Mr Aubrey’s family and friends, in the knowledge that Facelli will not be able to inflict such pain on anyone else.”

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