Father Not Guilty By Reason of Mental Illness in Son’s Stabbing Death

The boy and his dad.

Yesterday the New South Whales Supreme Court in Sydney, Australia determined that a 38 year old father was not guilty by reason of mental illness in regards to the June 8, 2018 stabbing death of his 5 year old son.


The Australian reported that the man, who cannot be identified as it would reveal the identity of the child, was diagnosed as schizophrenic in 2003.


According to ABC, the court heard that dating back to mid-April of 2018, the man expressed to mental health staff a pressure to "save the world" and was prescribed anti-psychotic medication.


On June 5th, the man and his partner went to a mental health clinician where his partner said the man was referring to his son as a "very bad kid."  Arrangements were made for the man's mother to care for the boy overnight.


Two days before the murder, his mother and partner became increasingly concerned about his mental state and even tried to get him into a Hornsby community mental health center but were told that there were no beds available.  The family was told they were welcome to wait in the emergency room for one to become available, but according to The Sydney Morning Herald, the family declined.


During that meeting with the clinician, it is reported that the mother of the man asked, “how do I sleep at night? I worry that I will wake up and find my grandson dead as [my son] has snapped overnight".  She determined that she would take him to other hospitals until he was admitted, but later in the day, his partner was told that the man had taken some medication and was settling down.


The following day, the man met with another mental health clinician and said that his son was "safe" and even picked him up from school that day.


On June 8th, the mother left to take the man's partner to work.  While both women were out of the house, the man retrieved a knife from the kitchen and returned to the bedroom where his son was sleeping on a mattress in blue pajamas.  The man stabbed his son 76 times.


When the mother returned, she asked her son how he was doing to which, according to The Sydney Herald, he responded that "I am fine, I will be right."  Then she saw the child and asked, "My God, what have you done?"


She removed the child from the house, placing him in the front seat of her vehicle and drove some distance away before calling tripple-0 and pulling over to administer CPR.  The child was transported to Westmead Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


When asked by emergency services who had harmed the child, the mother responded that it was her son who was at home, and asked, "Please don't hurt him."


When interviewed by police, the father had a lot to say.   "I just murdered my son. I feel sick. I thought my son was the devil. Well, I know he is, but he's dead now, at least I think he is dead."


The man evidently also described himself as "the messiah," and went on to say that, "The child was trying to tear my soul apart ... I knew it was the right thing to do but I didn't know how much time we had until doomsday."


Acting Justice Peter Hidden heard reports from two respected forensic psychologists according to 7News and determined that they established a clear mental illness defense and that the man, when he murdered the child, didn't understand that what he was doing was wrong.  One psychiatrist even stated that the man's motivation appeared "entirely psychotic."


Justice Hidden said on Wednesday this this was a "tragic case," before determining that the man would be held in the mental health screening unit indefinitely and subject to treatment.


The family, which caused a brief delay in the proceedings on Wednesday as Justice Hidden was reading from a statement some of the details relating to the child's death, blame this situation on a "systematic failure" of the mental health system and state that they hope there is an overhaul before this happens to another family.